"I have known him for a long time."


January 4, 2018

This discussion is locked.


Why isn't the verb 认识 duplicated here as it is in "他们学中文学了很久了" ("they have been studying chinese for a long time")?


Some verbs are composed of a verb base character with a noun base character, e.g. 骑马,打球,吃饭. With these verbs we repeat the verb base character 骑,打,吃.

Some verbs are formed by 2 verb base characters of identical or similar meaning, e.g. 认识,观察,沐浴. With these verbs we usually do not repeat like that, and if we do we repeat both characters e.g. 他观察野生动物已经(观察了)二十年了. Normally it would be regarded as clumsy and unnecessary.


The grammar section to this lesson explains three cases: 1 character verbs, 2 character verbs without object, and separable 2 character verbs with object. Why do they not also explain this case (2 character unseparable verb with object) if they put a sentence in the lesson?


What Duolingo calls a "seperable verb" is really a set phrase or set pattern composed of a verb + its obligatory or usual object (noun). This is what Keith is calling a 2 character verb with a verb based character and a noun based character. Examples are 跑步,游泳,睡觉。步,泳,and 觉 are actually nouns, so they have to behave as nouns in the sentence. However, some verbs are actually just 2 character verbs, such as 认识.

However, I think the real answer to your question here is about 了. When discussing something you have been doing or were doing for a time duration, the grammar hinges on whether the verb is an action verb or a stative verb. Stative verbs don't take a "completed-action" 了 after them (because there's no action to complete); action verbs require a "completed-action" 了 after them to portray that the action has been happening or was happening for a time duration. (This is how we can end up with two 了s in the sentence, we need one after the verb if it's an action verb, and we need one at the end of the sentence if the time duration continues up to the present moment.) That "completed-action" 了 has to go right after the verb. But the verb's object, if it has one, (usually) has to go right after the verb. So we solve this problem by repeating the verb, and putting the object after the first verb, and 了 after the second (duplicated) verb. It looks like Subject+Verb+Object+Same verb+了+Time duration+(了 if the verb continues to the present). 我学中文学了十二年了。我跑步跑了一个小时。

However, if the verb is a stative verb, it can't have that "completed-action" 了 in the middle. Now there's no need to duplicate the verb. It looks like Subject+Verb+Object+Time duration+(了 if the action continues to the present). 我认识他很久了。

Note about 认识: When it means "to know" someone (I've known him for years), 认识 is a stative verb and cannot take a "competed-action" 了. When it means "to meet" someone for the first time, 认识 is an action and can take a "completed-action" 了 where appropriate.


Wow, thank you for such a detailled and comprenhensive answer!


Excellent explanation


I'm confused why 了 is needed here as it isn't a completed action.


From what I have been taught the ending 了 is often used to bring the action into the present; to show that the action is still occurring in the present. It's like saying I've known him a long time instead of I knew him a long time.


why don't we use the double 了 here? is it used for this type of actions that "have been happening"? Thx


认识 is not an action verb here, so it cannot take the "completed-action" 了 (in the middle of the sentence).


Technically 认识他很久了 is passable IMO, it might be a tad more conversational, but language is elliptic: what can be omitted usually gets omitted.


So is this a special meaning of 了 to indicate continued state rather than completed action? How to know the difference? How would you say I knew him for a long time?


Can 我很久认识他了 be accepted?


Sorry, but no.


I put 我认识了他很久 and it worked but I don't know why. Does anyone have an explanation?


That forces 认识 to be an action verb. I think that means you met him for a long time, like the introductions took forever.




Is 我很久了认识他 correct? It seems it is not.


It is not. It wouldn't be too surprising though if people say this occasionally.


;-) “wouldn’t be too surprising” especially when people are beginning Chinese language learners who don’t know enough grammar, idioms, complexities, nuances….


Is it allowed to put the object after the duration? 我认识了很久他


Can I use 我认识他好久了?


i wrote 我很久认识了他 not accepted, but could it be? when i typ that into google translate i get the exact english sentence that is asked here.


Google Translate is not good at converting between English and Chinese grammar. Time duration (how long) and points in time (when) are treated differently in Chinese grammar. That is not the right place to put time duration.


我认识他久了 was not accepted. Is 很 really necessary here?


Is 我认识他了很久。OK?

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