我忘了吃饭 (Wo3 wang4 le chi1 fan4)
Dà jiā hǎo!
In lesson 0341 (Expansion) I read
我忘了吃饭 (Wǒ wàng le chī fàn)
Now, my book says "In a sentence with verb construction in series 了(le) cannot be added to the first verb". I would have thought, that rule would "banish" the 了(le) to the end of the sentence. What am I overlooking?
All the best,
tingyunJuly 13, 2012, 07:55 PM
No clue what the book's grammer point could mean, but generally its really hard to nail down how 了 works and positions. And putting the 了 in that sentence at the end would definitally be wrong, it belongs where it is.
Best to just get a natural feel through exposure, though youll notice some patterns. For example, it likes to hang out right after 在 for instance,我跟在了背后, there 跟 is the the verb 'to follow'....
Thank you! My teacher has said several times that the grammatical concepts are made for European languages and are not practical for Chinese. Yet I live in Europe and I'm always tempted to follow the rules I read...
rootJuly 13, 2012, 11:51 PM
Verb construction refers to several verbs strung together , like 我坐飞机去(wǒzuòfēijīqù) . Your sentence 我忘了吃饭 has no verb construction, so your rule does not apply.
Thank you! 我坐飞机去 is precisely the example in my book. But how do I decide wether it's a "verb construction in series" or not? I can't clearly see the difference in the grammatical structure of the two examples yet.
Serial verb construction does not normally occur in English, with the exception of a couple of archaic phrases like "let's go", according to wiki.
So you could use this rule -- if it sounds okay in English (forgot to eat) -- it's not serial verb construction. This way 'take airplane to go ' does not make sense as a subordinate clause, so probably is the SVC...
The final goal is to have an innate feeling, fully agree with tingyin, which is best gotten via exposure to full sentences. Lucky they have a lot of good ones here at CPod :)
I'm more confused by "serial verb construction" than how to place "了“， which is to say, this idea is a very deep mystery, indeed. I believe that generally, 了， likes to go at the end of simple sentences, but binds more tightly to certain words and phrases, or if there are other actions introduced later in the sentence that might also be completed.
Since, 吃饭了 by itself makes perfect sense, it is hard for the listener to know that when you said, "blah blah blah 吃饭了“, you meant, "blah blah blah了 吃饭“. But, in this case, you didn't complete eating, you completed forgetting.
In the case of 我坐飞机去了， what you completed was going, that long period of endless sitting was incidental, and 去 happens to be the nearest verb to 了。 So, there is nothing confusing, here.
Thank you! I agree that these logical thoughts help in both examples. I will try that way of reasoning and the rule given by root and see if I start placing "le" correctly.
It is also true that in the case 我坐飞机去了 I was never tempted to misplace "le", because I imagined 坐飞机 more like the phrase "by plane" than as a verb. Perhaps in the beginning knowing the "serial verb construction" rule led me to make more, not fewer errors.