Lesson 030. Directions and Location.

This is a review lesson (but with some new vocabulary). We will review phrases related to showing the direction and location in Mandarin Chinese and such directional verbs as 来 lai2 (to come) and 去 qu4 (to go).

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  1. Serge Melnyk says:

    Nihao David, I would like to give you some examples for this grammar construction.

    Technically, the “le” particle should be added to the very end of the dao4…..qu4(到……去) construction. Especially, if you just want to make a statement, make it known to everyone that “he went to China!”: ta1 dao4 Zhong1guo2 qu4 le(他到中国去了), the same meaning can also be expressed by saying : ta1 qu4 Zhong1guo2 le(他去中国了) or ta1 dao4 Zhong1guo2 le(他到中国了). You announce to everyone or someone, that “he” went to China! It’s supposed to be a new information to the listener, so the ‘le’ here is a marker “of the new change in the situation” and is placed at the end.

    So, ta1 dao4 Zhong1guo2 qu4 le(他到中国去了)
    ta1 qu4 Zhong1guo2 le(他去中国了)
    ta1 dao4 Zhong1guo2 le(他到中国了) * also means ‘he arrived in China’, because dao4(到) by itself means ‘to arrive’.

    All mean “he went to China!”- as a new information for the listener.

    Now, let’s put ‘le’ directly after the 1st verb and see what happens…

    A: ta1 dao4 le Zhong1guo2 qu4(他到了中国去)- He went to CHINA~!

    B: Why? What the heck is he going to do in China?

    A: ta1 dao4 le Zhong1guo2 qu4 gong1zuo4!(他到了中国去工作)-He went to China to work!

    A more neutral way of saying, will be just ta1 dao4 Zhong1guo2 qu4 gong1zuo4!(他到中国去工作!), without any ‘le’ particle.


    A: ta1 qu4 le Zhong1guo2(他去了中国)- He went to CHINA~!

    B: Ah?

    A: Ta1 qu4 le Zhong1guo2, bu2 shi4 Ri4ben3!(他去了中国,不是日本)-He went to CHINA, not Japan!

    Do you feel the difference in the emphasis?


    Ta1 dao4 le Zhong1guo2(他到了中国)- He went to China or He arrived in China.

    Using dao4(到) usually will imply that “he has arrived somewhere”.

    So, more often, you will just use qu4(去) or dao4…..qu4(到…..去), the latter being a bit more formal.

    Conclusion: When placing particle le directly after the 1st verb, you can add other things to the sentence, such as ta1 dao4 le Zhong1guo2 qu4 xue2xi2(他到了中国去学习)-He went to China to study….etc.

    If ‘le’ is at the end, it’s the end of the sentence, you can not extend that sentence. E.g. ta1 dao4 Zhong1guo2 qu4 le(他到中国去了). You CAN NOT say: Ta1 dao4 Zhong1guo2 qu4 le xue2xi2!(他到中国去了学习)

    Only, if you remove ‘le’, it will be possible: Ta1 dao4 Zhong1guo2 qu4 xue2xi2!(他到中国去学习) .

    Hope this answers your question.



  2. David Hughes says:

    Serge, Nihao!
    Where do you put le (past participle)
    Dao….qu construction to make the sentence past tense?


  3. Piccia says:

    Hi Serge
    you’re better than Soas. I just took a crash course there in view of coming to China for work for a month and this is better. Thank you. I will suscribe. But what do you suggest one does in order to learn characters, as well? I feel back to illiteracy. It is an extraordinary feeling. Any suggestions? Your advice is greatly valued.

    With many, many thanks


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