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  5. "I only got off work at 11 la…

"I only got off work at 11 last night."


November 23, 2017



time phrase in a Chinese sentences can be in 1. position or second position: Wo zuotian wanshang is correct, but so is Zuotian wanshang...


I've been wondering about it for some time now and most of the time I've chosen the other place that Duolingo does not accept...


It accepted the latter one! :)


Is the only correct word order with the time, then 才, then the verb (下班)?


I wrote 昨天晚上我十一点才下班 (accepted correct), is it okay to use this order or completely unnatural?


Must 才 always be placed right before the verb?


I'm not understanding the difference between 才 and 只. I was under the impression that they mean the same thing (i.e. just/only). Are they not interchangeable?


I submitted the answer: "昨天晚上十一点才我下班." Is there any reason this would be incorrect? Duolingo did not accept this answer.


what does cai add to the sentence here? I've never had a natural sense of when to use it


才 (CAI2) should be used when an action occurs later than expected. For example, 我昨天晚上十二点才回家 (I didn't return home until 12:00 last night).

The opposite of 才 is 就 (JIU4) and should be used when the action occurs earlier than expected. For example, 我昨天晚上七点半就回家 (I already returned home by 7:30 last night).


In this sentence it does the job of the English "only", which could also be "not until" as in "I didn't get off work until 11 last night." So you can't use it everywhere you can use "only" in English.


But is there an implied meaning of past? I mean here it's obvious because of the time indication at the start, but otherwise? In another exercise there was no time indication, no 了or 完, yet the correct answer was in past tense.


Here is a good video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebwgMkQ3jMo It says cai is best thought of as "only just" and has an implicit meaning of "...didn't do until..." For that reason, in this sentence, it is more accurate than using Zhi, which is more for a limitation (eg I only have three pens")

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