Translation:They will have dinner at 8 on Saturday.
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Firstly, I'm only a novice at Chinese, so while my English is acceptable, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of any Chinese interpretations layed out here. But I thought I'd share, so that hopefully some native speakers can provide better input.
What a lot of people don't understand is verb aspect. I encourage everyone to have a quick read up on it, because it will help you understand how we handle verbs. Simply, verb aspect describes the state of a verb relative to the reference point in time.
In English, verb aspect may be broken down like this; Simple aspect: "Yesterday I ran". This is the most basic aspect and provides no additional information. Progressive aspect: "Yesterday I was running". The action (running) was continuous/ongoing. Perfect aspect: "Yesterday I had run". Action was completed. Progressive Perfect aspect: "Yesterday I had been running". Action was continuous, but was completed as of the past reference point.
Note all these examples are past tense. Similar but different expressions exist for the other tenses.
So how does this relate to Chinese? Take for instance the word 了. Non native speakers often struggle with the idea that it does not indicate past tense. Because it doesn't. It indicates an action is completed. It indicates the "perfect aspect". We also have 在 which indicates an action is ongoing, which would correspond to progressive aspect.
In Chinese this MIGHT look like:
Simple: 昨天我吃饭 (Yesterday I ate) Perfect: 昨天我吃饭了 (Yesterday I had eaten) Progressive: 昨天我在吃饭 (Yesterday I was eating) Progressive Perfect: 昨天我在吃饭了 (Yesterday I had been eating)
Now I don't know if all of these structures actually exist in Chinese, but this might be one way of helping to understand the characters.
So looking at the example 她们会在星期六八点吃晚饭, we have 会 which indicates a future action that will be performed by the subject. Then we have 在 which indicates the action will be ongoing at the time specified.
So this translation would like something like:
"They will be eating dinner at 8 o'clock on Saturday." And this is our progressive aspect.
在 and 会 are two different words, and are clearly not mutually exclusive. If we left out 在 we'd have "will eat" instead. If we left out both, we'd still have "will eat", because the "will" is implied. Just because leaving out "will" sounds unnatural for English speakers, it doesn't mean it's the same for Chinese.
Don't get caught up in your grammar structures too much. There is a surprisingly large amount of grammar rules to any language, and there may not even be consensus amongst professionals, let alone amateurs on forums. Native speakers will also pad their sentences for better flow or accuracy. And even native speakers might not know what they're talking about. How many English speakers do know that know about verb aspect?
My main point would be, if you find yourself struggling with a grammatical concept, don't get too hung up on it. Be happy to forget about it and keep going. The most important thing is that you keep absorbing the language.
Hi! I'm a bit late on the topic but I've actually asked a Chinese friend to get her answer. Using 会 before 八点 makes the sentence focus on the fact that they are going to eat at 8. It's only a nuance but it can help understand that they are used to eat at 7 but they're going to eat at 8 on Saturday. Hope this helps
No because that sentence is a very general and almost robotic statement saying "they have dinner on Saturday at 8". You add 会 to write the sentence in the future tense "they will have dinner..." Though I'm not a native Chinese speaker I'm only speaking through observation so maybe someone who knows better can confirm or deny.
This is also correct. The placement of 会 has to do with emphasis. Whatever follows 会will be emphasized as the inevitable/future part.
"他们星期六会八点吃晚饭。" emphasizes something like, "yes, indeed, AT EIGHT, they will eat dinner."
Whereas "他们星期六八点会吃晚饭。" emphasizes the fact that they will be eating.
I'm curious about the sentence construction. It is [they] [saturday] [will] [8:00] [eat] [dinner]. I expected [they] [saturday] [8:00] [will] [eat] [dinner]. My take-away from previous exercises was to keep time elements together and order them big-to-small (year, month, day, time).
他们星期六八点会吃晚饭。= "They WILL EAT DINNER at eight on Saturday." As though you're emphasizing (perhaps in response to a question of whether they are eating) that yes, they will in fact be eating dinner. 他们星期六会八点吃晚饭。= "They will eat dinner AT EIGHT on Saturday." As though you're emphasizing (perhaps in response to someone asking "when?") the time when they will be eating dinner.
Question: I put "they can have dinner at eight o'clock on saturday". I was imagining trying to arrange dinner with friends. So I can imagine my partner saying that to me while she's on the phone with friends as we're trying to arrange a time. Is this correct?
I'll remember for future tests that DL is emphasising the "will" sense of 会