"他在看书。"

Translation:He is reading a book.

January 4, 2018

26 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dave168907

I seem to remember that in previous lessons the word "book" was left out of the translation. "He is reading" should be accepted, right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SunnyWu46376

Native speaker here (just here to practice my reading). It really should be accepted along with "He is studying" because we in China use it for both meanings.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lightning_11

"He reads books" this should be accepted, right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jikls

It can't just be 他看书?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jerryy2012

“在” means "正在“. It is the marker of progressive tense. "在看书" means "is reading a book".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hamburgefonstiv

Those little grammar nuggets in the comments are gold.

"他看书" then means "He reads books", in a general sense. Makes a lot more sense now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/XiangMao1111

However, i believe it's possible to leave out 在 as a marker of progressive tense, and it can still be implied by context in certain situations. Like if you said 我今天学习中文 then it means "today I am studying Chinese" and you don't need to add 在 to make it progressive, as it's implied.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lightning_11

Tense in Chinese is so confusing. I've heard that the language doesn't have tense, but there are some words (在, 了, etc.) that seem to denote a kind of tense. Can someone give a more comprehensive summary of how tense works to help me out?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

It certainly can be.

Just be aware that "在" does clarify the continuous/progressive aspect, suggesting, in this case, "is (currently) reading" (and it could also be "was reading" or "will be reading", in the right context). However, the progressive sense can also come from the context.

("在" isn't properly called a "tense" marker, as progressiveness or continuousness is an aspect ,  not a tense, besides which Chinese doesn't have tenses.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/luris_azimut

A translation proposed by Duolingo is "he is reading a book". Is it necessarly a book, or can this phrase be used if he was reading something else (like a journal)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ErmilyPermily

书 does mean book specifically. There are more precise words for journals/diaries etc. 看书 can also mean studying though. 看 is a verb also used to watch things such as films and to look at something. I think of it more as "to consume with one's eyes" instead of read/watch. Unless you already mentioned a book I'm not sure if in a real conversation it would be clear what he was doing without using 书


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roz789

So I know 他在看书 is supposed to be he is reading a book in English, but mine said the answer was "they will be back in 1 hour". Major glitch that devs might want to fix lol


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Steve86340

"He is reading" should be an acceptable answer


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexanderK218814

How to say "he is reading THE book"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cecil164832

If you are referring to a specific book, you give the title or other identifying feature. Or, you could say he is reading "that" book. 他在看那本书。


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rb_9

In English, “he is reading” would imply a book (as opposed to, say, a newspaper) but that answer isn’t accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

Perhaps it's not out of the question. However, in its intransitive use (i.e. without an object), "reading" can usually imply books, magazines, journals, newspapers, etc., and the activity of "reading" in that sense can be translated by "阅读", which can also be used without an object, unlike "看" in this context.

"看书" is reading books (or a book) in particular, though in a more limited sense and in the right context I believe it can also mean "to study" or "to be studying", i.e. to be sitting down in front of one's schoolbooks and reading them (but see my other comment in this regard).

(The transitive uses of "reading" for reading temperatures, tea leaves, minds, etc. are of course a distraction here.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/P5zG5

看书 is not reading a book. Its odd. One should say 读书


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

In fact they both can mean "read(ing) a book" or "read(ing) books", though "读书" is also often used to mean "study".

("看书" can also mean/imply studying in the right context, though to my understanding it's in a more limited sense, as in to be currently sitting at one's desk and reading one's books, whereas "读书" is broader and can also effectively mean "to be enrolled in a program of study", e.g. "他在北大读书".)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jasmine959

He reads books is not okay?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

No, not really.

"在" indicates a progressive/continuous aspect, meaning that the activity is happening right at the time when the sentence is being said, or at whatever specific time is being referred to. "He reads books" means that he does it in general, rather than that it is happening, was happening, or will be happening at a particular time.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chronomatex

Is 读书 redundant?

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