到 dao4 in a sentence
hamshankJune 29, 2010, 02:05 AM
Ahh...ok thanks changye, it makes more sense now.
I always wonder about the logic behind these words that have more than one meaning but the meanings are quite different. i.e Which use came first, how they came to be the same / what prompted people to use the word in this way.
Anyway enough rambling :)
Perhaps it's my walnut sized brain but I am still struggling to see the logic. "to arrive at" or "reach" a destination seems like the final part on a journey where as "Until" to me seems like it is a variable that need's satisfying before you can arrive.
You can't go from A to C until you have been through B.......Wait until we arrive...etc.
I probably is perfectly logical to experienced people and native speakers but for me, it's one of those things that is wildly different from the way my brain operates.
I assume it's context that avoids confusion for the Chinese speaker with the two meanings.
Ah yes, I see your meaning. I think you are trying too hard to make a 1:1 correlation between Chinese and English. It is probably best to simply think the following, and leave it to that.
到 = arrive
到 = until
But I do have one other way you can look at it. It seems to me that Chinese does use prepositions much less than English. For example, Chinese say 我们在说足球呢, which means "we are talking about football". But notice that there is no preposition that is the equivalent of 'about' in the Chinese sentence. Now in your example, 到 is classified as a preposition, i.e. 'until'. But I think we can think of it as a verb with an implied preposition that means something like '(until sb/sth) arrives (at some time)' So your example could be translated as:
He works (until he) arrives at a very late time every day.
What an ugly sentence in English! Perhaps you can see the logic?? If no, it is probably best to think about what Changye said and let it sink in.
Thanks for the extra info...Yeah I guess I am just trying to make a correlation that isn't there.
I know this will be a hard one to use in my Chinese as it "falls upwards" to my brain if you get what mean.
So to in attempt to put some examples to the test and help it sink in I will write some examples below.....(As I am still a Chinese infant, there will probably be mistakes other than the placement of 到!)
Wait until we arrive - 等我們到了 - deng3 wo3men dao4 le
I waited until I got too bored - 我等了到太無聊了. - wo3 deng3 le dao4 tai4 wu2liao2 le.
Don't leave the house until o'clock - 到九點鐘別離開家 - dao4 jiu3 dian3zhong1 bie2 li2kai1 jia1
Until he fixes his car, he will be late everyday - 他要天天遲到了到修車 - ta1 yao4 tian1tian1 chi2dao4 le dao4 xiu1che1.
Wow thanks changye, it's always nice to get some feedback and thanks to xiaophil for the bumps!
Judging by the correct ways of saying those things I still have a long way to go in order to get my brain to function in an Eastern fashion!
Can I ask, If I had not given the English versions along side the Chinese, would the sentences have been understood? I find that Chinese can be very unforgiving when using the wrong structure.
Thanks so much Changye
I have a couple questions.
Regarding 我等得太无聊了. I think that is the "so adjectival stative verb that..." structure.
For example, 他累得站着睡觉 = He is so tired that he is sleeping standing up.
So could also interpret your sentence as "I waited so long I became super bored"? If I am correct, I am wondering if your translation has the same meaning as whet Hamshank wanted to express? (His meaning = I waited for awhile, but when I got bored, I left.)
I can understand 直到汽车修好为止他会天天迟到, but I am wondering if it is a bit written Chinese? I always think that 为止 is written, but I don't really know.
其实我觉得把"until"翻译成中文很难。"until"的直译是"到......为止，在......以前"，但在中文里除了指时间以外，很少会用这样的表达方法。比如：I waited until I got too bored. 对我来说，理解起来比较难，听了你的解释，我才明白是什么意思。
I waited until I got too bored. - 我等得太无聊了。(完整一点可以说："我等得太无聊了，就走了。")
Until he fixes his car, he will be late everyday - 直到汽车修好为止他会天天迟到。（"直到......为止"的确很正式，口语中可以说：车子修好以前，他会天天迟到。）