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  5. "The students went to school …

"The students went to school at 10 yesterday."


January 8, 2018



Why is 昨天十点学生上学。wrong?


You were almost correct: you can put 昨天first but the noun needs to come after it: i.e. 昨天学生十点上学。remember, the time should come after the noun (学生) and then action/location (上学)


where is 了 or something to indicate the past tense? 在 is a 'state' verb, so it doesn't require '了' in the past sentence. e.g. 我昨天在纽约。 Are 上 and 下 ’state' verbs which don't require 'le' to indicate the past tense?


Again 了 is not past tense. Chinese does not have tenses. Don't get fooled by Duolingo's notes or anyone asserting that.

了 is either an indicator of change of state, or a modal interjection about a state.

Question: When did the students go to school yesterday?
Answer: 学生昨天十点上学。
The answer provides the time only so 了 is not necessary.

Question: Were there any students in the dormitory at 10:30 yesterday?
Answer: 学生昨天十点上学 。十点半没有学生在宿舍里。
The answer provides a change of state of the students (staying in the dorm => gone to school). 了 is required.

So it only depends on the context you want to express.


昨天 also pretty obviously states that it is in the past, so that's how you know. Context is important in Chinese


The plural for students is usually "xueshengmen" in my experience. The "men" is missing here. (Apologies - no pinyin accents available.)


There is really no need to specify plural property of nouns in Chinese and Duo's sentence is just fine. Depending on the context it may be better to add 們 to emphasize the collective idea. The difference is never a substantial one.


Why are there different characters for "school?" I thought that we were using xuexiao for school. Or are we talking about a different kind of school?


There is literally no word here that means "school". 上学 means "go to school" and more accurately refers to going somewhere for the learning.


So if you were going to university (a place of learning), would it be 上学 or 上大学?


大学 is used to mean 'university'

中学 - high school
小学 - elementary school

校 (jiao) and 学校 - can be used for school


Good question. I would also like to know about this


I think you would say 去大学上学 and if you search that phrase in Google you get 20,000 hits or so so it seems correct enough. It's like "go to the university to begin learning" in this case.


If I were to re-translate the answer back into English, it would be: The student went to school at 10am yesterday. As someone who actually speaks Chinese, but lack the fluency in recognising enough characters, I think the Chinese sentence is too general to be interpreted into the stated English statement


But don't we need a 'qu' before school? Like xuesheng zuotian Shi dian qu shengxue


You dont need qu because the shang in "shang xue" is used to say they are going. It would be the same when saying I am going to work. You would say "wo shang ban" not "wo qu shang ban"


学生昨天10点上学 :)


“去学校” should be accepted, no?


There is no verb in this sentence. So that's all right in Chinese?


上 can be considered a verb.
It means go although it applies to specific places only.
上学 go to school
上网 go online
上厕所 go to toilet/bathroom


It's also like that with 下, if I'm not mistaken. (下学= to leave/finish school; 下班= to leave/finish work, etc.)




So we can't say 去了學校?


I think that 去学校 literally means "to go to (the) school (building)", whereas 上学 is more like "to begin studying / learning", or we might say "start school".

上 has a lot of different meanings / usages / functions, hard to map it one-to-one in English.

A useful analogy in English might be "get". As a verb it means "to obtain", but that is at best only indirectly related to what it means in phrases like "get angry" (i.e. "become angry"), or "get ready to go" (i.e. "become ready to go"). How would I explain to a non-native speaker what "become" means? I think it would be difficult. ☺️

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