Translation:We are busy, we only ate lunch at 4 pm.
This rather patchy program won't even take: " We are so busy, we only got to eat lunch at 4 in the afternoon"
I mean what on Earth is the difference with their preferred answer?
Maybe when you get to having completed every lesson to number 25, like me, you'll start to realise it really grates on your nerves. And they have done nothing to improve the limited English answers in more than a year. This course is definitely being neglected. Might be free but it drives you mad getting things wrong that you know that you have got wright and fully understood from the Chinese sentences.
All the courses on Duolingo are created and moderated by volunteers. As these sort of things go, volunteers won't always have time to be around all the time. Try to keep this in mind. I've had reported answers of mine get accepted 2, 3, 4, plus years later. If you reported your answer, then just move on by typing in the accepted answer next time.
(Btw, I think you meant that you typed "wright" instead of "right".)
"We are so busy we had lunch at 4 o'clock in the afternoon" is what I put. Same idea, trying to match what I thought Duo might like. This has too many ways of being said that are as good or better than the accepted answer. I think it should only be offered in multiple choice format.
The tip section for this skill says 才 is for past tense, but it does leave me with some questions. Google translate uses 才 for "until" even when the event has not happened already. Their translation also adds 直到 (zhídào), which also means until.
"We are busy, we are not eating lunch until 4pm." (present, future)
"We are busy, we didn't eat lunch until 4pm." (present, past)
Both English sentences translate to this: 我们直到下午4点才吃午饭。
To say that something happened later than expected, say 才 (cái, only) after the time and before the verb. Even though in English we might say that we didn’t do something until a certain time, you would never use 才 in a negative sentence in Chinese.
No, "only" (or till / until) needs to be there to show that it's later than usual. It's much more common to say "we didn't eat lunch (un)till..." than "we only ate lunch at..." but 才 is an important part of the information in this sentence and needs to be translated. I think for simplicity Duo has gone with "only" because it also covers the other shades of 才.
All of the sentences where Duo uses "only" in place of "not until" are poorly worded. For this meaning of 才, "only" and "until" should be placed directly before the time.
"We did not eat lunch until 4pm."
"It was not until 4pm that we ate lunch."
"It was only at 4pm that we ate lunch."
Putting "only" before the verb and not the time changes the meaning.
"We only ate sandwiches at 4pm."
"We only ate lunch at 4pm."
This format modifies the verb and not the time. It means the only thing eaten at 4pm was lunch, not that it was only at 4pm that you ate lunch.
The content of the sentence implies they are talking about a past situation. Even though no了 was present, there was not any indication of future action or on going action.
we only eat lunch at 4 in the afternoon - a statement about a time when you eat lunch
we only ate lunch at 4 in the afternoon - a statement about something that already occurred
I would not phrase it in that manner, as you can see from the comments there are many ways to say it. Hope that helps.
I think if 才 was not present, then it could be future tense.
才 has a lot of meanings. A native Chinese speaker could clarify this better, I will try. In this context there would be four options (maybe more)
1 - only
we -only- ate lunch at four in the afternoon (I personally don't like this one)
2 - only then, 3 - just now
4 - not until (if preceded by a clause of condition or reason)
So 'we are busy' would be the condition. You could say 'we did not eat lunch -until- 4 in the afternoon'.
I also believe the first part '我们很忙‘ could be translated as 'we were busy'.
I translate this as 'we were busy, we did not eat lunch until four in the afternoon'.
'we are busy' is valid in the proper context. You could be at work stating that 'work is busy', so you did not eat until then.
I hope that helps.
The confusion that many of the learners are having here is that it is NOT STATED whether it is past tense or present tense.
You can character-for-character Chinglish this as, "We very busy, 4 PM until we eat/ate lunch."
In an actual conversation, it is STRONGLY implied to be past tense without a time phrase, such as "Earlier today, we didn't eat lunch until 4PM" or "Every workday, we don't eat lunch until 4PM."
That is why it is unclear to foreign language learners and why it should be modified if it is to be allowed in a practice sentence.
Make sure you report those differences; i.e. 'did not' for 'don't'.
Depending on how you structured your answer, sometimes 'very' is required and sometimes it is not. So report those answers. I do not think many english speaker would phrase the answer in that manner, it sounds a little off (OK, unnatural).
"We are very busy. We didn't eat lunch until 4 o'clock in the afternoon." was accepted but the correct version showed "We are very busy. We didn't eat lunch until 4o'clock in the afternoon." (missing space). There is no option to report this error as the sentence was accepted.
It is, among other issues, only accepting "We are very busy..." even tho' "We are busy..." should be a better translation; 很 hěn before an adjectiv usually means is/am/are more than "very". (In effect, hěn could be considered another word for "to be" [a 'copula'] in Chinese, along with 是 shì. Likewise, Spanish has two copulas, ser and estar.)
I wrote "We only ate lunch at four in the afternoon, We are so busy." Got marked wrong though.
Why do they put commas in the actual question yet resort to full stops for the English answers?
Surely this is a bit misleading.
Also don't we say in English "We were busy. We only ate lunch at 4 in the afternoon". Otherwise the tenses are a bit weird.
Yeah, really... I'm at level 23 in Chinese and in the past six months or more have sent Duolingo literally hundreds of suggested correct answers by now. At this stage of the game, it's annoying to have to memorize the exact awkward wording that is acceptable... Please fix these glitches. Thanks
I tried multiple variations on this, and it felt like an exercise in remembering the exact phrasing that they wanted. My suggestions for improvement: 1) 4pm (post meridiem) is literally equal to "four in the afternoon," as common if not more so in daily life, and way shorter to type. 2) Tense issues. Unless I'm missing a past tense element of 才，it seems like there's no reason to think it must be in the past. I might be having a week where "I'm so busy I'm not able to have lunch until 4pm," which has happened to me, justifying the present tense. 3) Some questions seem to accept or even require "have" as a synonym for "eat," but it's really spotty. Sometimes, the questions fault me for saying, "I had chicken for dinner" rather than, "I ate chicken for dinner." Consistency is a virtue.
I was confused about the distinction between cai and zhi and this video does a good job https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebwgMkQ3jMo Essentially it says that the best way to think of cai is like "only just" Eg (I only just learned it = 我才学会它 (Wǒ cái xuéhuì tā) [google will say caigang 才刚 but you don't need to add gang] ...whereas zhǐ is more for "only" [Eg I only have $3 我只有3美元 (Wǒ zhǐyǒu 3 měiyuán)
Oh, so just to add to the above, for our example as I understand it, the "only just" has an implicit meaning of "...couldn't do until...." So if you said I only ate 4 french fries, then you'd use zhi. But if you say I only ate at 4 pm, it is implicit that you couldn't eat until 4 pm. Please correct me if I'm being overly reductive here but that's how I understand it.
Le is NOT for tense, and that is a common mistake even by Doctoral students. Le is for status changes.
Cai2 here is used not to denote tense, but to denote that the verb happened later than expected. This is the only use of this character. It's opposite, Jiu4 is used to denote that the verb phrase is earlier than expected.
The accepted English translation is grammatically incorrect. "only" should directly precede the concept it is modifying. The sentence isn't saying that nothing other than eating happened at 4; it's saying that eating happened no sooner than 4.
"We only ate lunch at four in the afternoon" means "We only ate lunch (and didn't prepare it, or sell it, or look at it, or anything else) at four in the afternoon."
The correct translation is "We are busy. We ate lunch only at four in the afternoon," or alternately "We are busy. We ate lunch at only four in the afternoon." Either of these correctly says that the eating was delayed until 4 because we were so busy.
No - you are conflating modification with emphasis. In English, adverbs are often positionally flexible, changing emphasis without changing the meaning (eg 'often go' and 'go often'). "I only ate at 4" and "I ate only at 4" are really no different, just distinguished by emphasis (and by the fact that we, by habit, usually use 'only' before the verb, but do not have to). It still modifies 'ate'. Your "We ate lunch at only four" is quite different and I would argue it is grammatically problematic because your preposition 'at' lines up 'only' as an adj but it should stay an adv