"I have not seen my parents for a year, I miss them."
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You can, but strictly speaking its position now at the back is better.
Durations are placed after the verb, starting points are before. So in this case if 一年 was before it would mean that in a year you would not see your parents
as a native speaker, this correct answer feels really weird...
i often say 我有一年没有见过父母了
not a native speaker but I think it's because the 了 is meant to indicate an action that's been completed. it's weird to put it after an action that isn't completed, but instead goes after 一年 to indicate that the year (of not seeing them) has completed.
What function does the 了 play in this sentence? Would it be incorrect without it?
了 is required in this sentence to express duration of inaction. the form is Subj. + Duration + 没 + Verb + 了. https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Expressing_duration_of_inaction
我有一年没见过我父母了。 I haven't seen my parents for a year.
我去年没见过我父母。 I didn't saw my parents last year.
了is like have/has/had in perfect tense.
I have the same question. I tried "我沒有見父母一年，我想他們。", which was rejected.
Also: Oddly, the suggested answer, "我沒有見父母一年了，我想他們。", had the comma underlined instead of the "了".
In retrospect: The sentence with "了" is like saying "I haven't seen my parents for a year now." whereas the sentence without "了" is like saying "I didn't see my parents for a year." The former definitely sounds more correct particularly with the added context of "I miss them." Why? Because the first statement (with "了") is explicitly marking the change of state that prompted the second statement.
https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Expressing_duration_of_inaction As per above link, the sentence should be "我(已经)一年没有见我父母了，想他们。
As a native speaker, this is an odd answer... I would say instead 我一年没见 or 我一年没看到我的父母。