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  5. "I saw my students last year."

"I saw my students last year."


November 20, 2017



Why do you need to use "了" if the "去年" already shows it's past tense and completed?


Because the use of '去年' does not necessarily mean the action is completed. Only that it is past. Without '了' it would be imperfect. For a full understanding, I would recommend researching the difference between 'Perfect' and 'Imperfect' aspect.


The issue is that other sentences don't use it. 她 去年住在纽约. Hope can we tell whether to use了 or not


The thing is that at the point we're talking about - one year ago - her living in New York was an ongoing state. In fact 住 is an inherently stative verb and is therefore hardly ever used together with 了 (and when it is, it's the sentence-final "change of state" 了, not the "completed action" 了). Skmilar verbs include 知道, feeling verbs such as 喜欢, as well as all adjectives.

By contrast "I saw her" views you seeing her as a completed action in the past. If you were talking about the past state of you seeing her, you would use progressive and say "I was seeing her" (in English that also happens to idiomatically mean that you were going out, but let's ignore that because it's not relevant here).


That makes sense


For English speakers it's understood that the action is completed because it is in the past, but in Chinese the action could still be ongoing or part of a series if 了 is not used to indicate the action has been completed in this type of context.


From the context there is no way to tell if this sentence is perfect or imperfect. "I was seeing my students last year" would indicate that the action is still ongoing. "I did see my students last year" would indicate that the action is completed. Also there is no indication if there is one or more student.


It is true that 学生 is basically 'student'. One thing I have figured out from this course is: Words like this can be used as plurals. Just like 医生 in the course, sometimes it is 'doctor' and sometimes 'doctors'. I guess we can only learn by enough exposure to the written language.


It's like you don't change "did" to "do" after you added "last year" in English.


了 is also used when you modify the object of the sentence. So since it's "my students" instead of just "students," the 了 is necessary.


Yes the 了 is a bit redundant.


Shouldn’t this be 学生们? this answer is only saying student singular


To my understanding, you only use 们 for pronouns (我们,他们,你们)


No, you can use it for nouns as well. Only nouns which refer to people (so no *桌子们 or something), but that’s the case here. Still, it is only used very infrequently for nouns. For one thing, it pretty much always implies definiteness. So 学生们 sounds like we’re talking about a particular group of students we already heard about, not about some unknown students, and certainly not students in general. In our sentence above, the students are indeed definite (a possessive makes things definite), so you can say 我的学生们. But it’s not required at all. It’s very common to not use an overt plural marker if it’s not absolutely required to hammer down that there are indeed multiple people.


Yes I tried this too, shouldn't it be 学生们


i put "我去年看了我的学生", assume this is also okay? what is the difference between 看 and 见?


"Kan" (看) is to literally "see/look at something". "Jian" (见) is to see in the sense of "meet with."

If you say "did you go see your doctor?" you're not asking if the person went and simply looked at the doctor (看); you're asking if they met and spoke (见)


That's true, but the english sentence is ambiguous then: "I saw my students last year" could mean either.

It's tough too because "I met my students last year" is ambiguous between "I met (with) my students" and "I met (for the first time) my students", which other sentences want to see as 见 and 认识


Do you really have to look for the most far-fetched, remote, possibilities in this basic course?


This actually isn't a good example for this, since one way to say "I went to the doctor" is "我看病了", which obviously utilizes 看, but I see the point you're trying to make


The difference is that 看 is to look and 见 is to meet


Kan is more for objects and places. Jian is more for people.


I am not sure but i believe "kan" is more like "look" or "watch". For instance watch tv is "kan dian shi". Hope pinyin are not to confusing.


看 means to look or sometimes read, 见 is see in the sense that you are meeting.


去年 (qù nián)= last year

今年 (jīn nián)= this year

明年 (míng nián)= next year


昨日/昨天 (zuó rì/zuó tiān) = yesterday

今日/今天 (jīn rì/jīn tiān) = today

明日/明天 (míng rì/míng tiān) = tomorrow


上周/上(个)星期 (shàng zhōu/shàng gè xīng qī) = last week

下周/下(个)星期 (xià zhōu/xià gè xīng qī)= next week


Anyone could suggest the context for "I saw my students last year." ?


You're right, it is totally absurd pragmatically.


Not necessarily. The speaker could be a retired teacher who only runs into their old students on rare occasions for example.


昨天=去天 right? Is there a difference in how they are used?


昨天 = yesterday (昨 = yesterday 天 = day, sky, heaven)
去天 = go to the sky
去年 = last year (上年 = last year) Sometimes when used with a time component, 去 can mean 'last' (not always). You have to remember the vocabulary. Hope that helps.


Gotcha, mistake on my part. Thank you for correcting me!


Looks wrong... Never heard qutian


qutian was not in the quiz, it was part of the original question (from Bob) .


Why can't we use 明年 ?


明年 = next year 明 = bright, clear (of meaning), to understand, next, wise, and public


Is de necessary or is wo xuesheng also correct


I had the same question. I asked a friend from Taiwan. She said it is required. Her English is OK, but we still have to talk things out to get a good explanation. Basically a relationship between a teacher and students is not consider a close personal relationship.


Is the 我的 before 学生 necessary? 我去年见了学生 was not accepted.


Why cant you use 作年


zuò means “to make, to compose” (among other things); it has nothing to do with “last year”. I assume you meant the character 昨 zuó instead (note the tone difference in their readings too)? This morpheme (word part) specifically refers to “yesterday”; it can’t be combined with other time words besides 天 or 日 to more generally refer to “last/previous x”. “Last year” is 去年 qùnián (literally: “the year that has left”; 去 used to mean “to leave” in Classical Chinese). It’s just a fixed word.


The answer is wrong. It should also accept 我去年看见了我的学生。 FYI. Duolingo often rejects similar answers, and this is frustrating.


Duolingo Chinese is still in beta, so of course it's not going to be perfect. You can help by reporting.


Should it be 我去年看见了我的学生些 otherwise the sentence would be read as only seeing a single student


That one is definitely wrong. 些 is a measureword, corresponding fairly closely to English “couple; bit” as in “a couple of students, a bit of milk”. It is never used as a noun suffix to indicate plural. The only plural suffix in Chinese (Standard Mandarin Chinese at least) is 们, but it’s only ever used for people, and even then it’s is optional in most cases. You can use it if you really want to stress that you’re talking about a plural noun, but most of the time information plurality either doesn’t really matter for understanding what the speaker wants to say, or already clear from context/other parts of the sentence so 们 is not needed. So 我去年看见了我的学生 could be talking about one student or multiple, we don’t know. Maybe the speaker is going to tell us down the line, or maybe not, in which case it probably wasn’t important.


can anyone help me understand why, in Chinese, it is (literal translation) 'last year saw my students' versus 'saw my students last year' . I get a lot of answers wrong, because I have not understood the concept.


Firstly the rule of the game in Duo is to be literal and do not change the word order, although Duo would surprise you occasionally.

The time element in a Chinese is usually either at the beginning of a sentence, or in the middle before the verb; It is never placed at the end, so avoid it.


What I find with Duo is that sometimes it is literal and sometimes not. With the Chinese some of the answers they recommend are just not literal or direct translation. I find guessing is a horrible way to learn because getting answers wrong out of not knowing why undermines confidence. I've done 15 lessons so far but this one is a bit crazy and overly complicated compared to the others. Duo is great to practice with, but it would be much better if it gave you an explanatory lesson in the first place before it throws you in the deep end where the only way to survive is to learn answers off by memory, and not understand the grammar or the 'why'.

Pity because it's about 90 % there otherwise and could be the best on the market.


Why do the hints give me the wrong translation for saw i can't remember the correct translation


I'm starting to think this lesson is a waste of time given there is so much dabbling in the dark over concepts like 了 For a learner it seems impossible to predict when it is used. I've not found a lesson previously that is so full of easy to make pitfalls.


了 pronunciation is not correct, it should read as "le"


shouldn't it be 到 instead of 了


Another one where it says I need "le".

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