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  5. "I was the only one there."

"I was the only one there."

Translation:Tôi là người duy nhất ở đó.

September 11, 2017



Why is this not 'đã là' as "I was the only one there', not "I am the only one there"


Is this translation correct? Why is it in the past and not the present tense?


Well, because you can't be "there" at the moment you say that, unless you somehow can exist at two location at the same time.


Seems to me this sentence says "I am the only one there"


Common sense really, you're "here" right now (wherever that may be for you) and not "there".


This must be the first time I've seen "common sense" applied to a duolingo sentence. Good to know the reasoning.


For starters the way tense works in Vietnamese doesn't always require you use a particle like đã/đang/sẽ. In this case the word đó means "there", away from your current position. It just makes sense to treat it as being in the past tense. You are "here", not "there", however, it's possible for you to "have been there" or "to be there (in future)". Immediately we've ruled out it being the present tense so we're left with either the past or future. For the future you'd have to use sẽ while the past action does not require đã.


To echo that, in my experience, more often than not Vietnamese does not use đã or sẽ when speaking of the the past or future. DL emphasizes them, so we learn them, but in everyday life most often you just use the verb by itself, and you can tell from context whether it is referring to the past, the present or the future.

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