了 - 我做了飯 / 我做飯了

  • Bunni

    Member
    English (USA)
    I'm not a native speaker, but from how I understand it, the first is more like "I made the food" and the second could be interpreted a number of ways since some people stick "le" at the end of a sentence just to indicate change. I would say the second is more like "I made the food (now)" or "I made the food (already)", just indicating something that hadn't happened before.

    My teacher in high school used the example, "Ye4 hong2 le", "The leaves are red now (as opposed to before)".
     

    l10ner

    Member
    Chinese
    "我做了飯" tends to say the food is ready, which meaning you can come to have dinner. For example: you just made lunch, a friend calls you suddenly. You can say: "我作了午饭,过来一块吃吧!". It means I made the lunch, would you like to come to have lunch together?

    If you go to see your friend, but he has waited for you for a long time, he may ask you what you was doing. You can answer: "我做饭了" or "我在做饭", which means you were making dinner during this time.

    More examples. After you went shopping, you friend ask you what you bought. You can answer:"我买了苹果,买了桔子。"( I bought apple. I bought oriange.) If he ask where did you go, you can answer "我去买苹果了。" (I went to buy apples.)
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    (a) "我作了午饭,过来一块吃吧!"
    (b) "我买了苹果,买了桔子。"
    Thanks!

    Is (a) like that because "我作了午饭" is followed by another clause? Can we say "我作了午饭!" and stop the sentence there?

    For the same reaseon, can we say "我买了苹果!" and stop there?
     

    eastlife

    Member
    Chinese/China
    Guys, I don't see there is a big difference. Usually, when my mama calls me, she says "我做了饭,你晚上过来吗?" and she could also say "我做饭了,你晚上过来吗?"

    I think the point here is which part you want to emphasis. Let's say 我做了, "I made the rice/meal"

    饭了. "I've done cooking"

    What do you guys think?
     

    MingRaymond

    Senior Member
    HK Cantonese
    Since the word order of the second sentence is impossible in Cantonese, I was wondering if a native Cantonese speaker could explain how these two sentences are expressed in Cantonese.

    Thanks,
    Vince
    Hello Vince,

    In Cantonese, we say 我煮咗飯。No one say 我煮飯咗。

    Ming
     

    bR0123

    New Member
    Cantonese, English; Hong Kong
    Since the word order of the second sentence is impossible in Cantonese, I was wondering if a native Cantonese speaker could explain how these two sentences are expressed in Cantonese.

    Thanks,
    Vince
    Ming's suggestion is good enough:)
    For (2), the Cantonese equivalence of 我做飯了 is 我(去)煮飯啦
     

    Senordineroman

    Senior Member
    USA English - Midwest
    These sentences 呢?

    Are they both grammatical? If so, what's the difference in meaning?

    "今天上午七点我洗了澡"

    "今天上午七点我洗澡了"
     

    Jamison

    Member
    Mandarin - Chinese
    These sentences 呢?

    Are they both grammatical? If so, what's the difference in meaning?

    "今天上午七点我洗了澡"

    "今天上午七点我洗澡了"
    They are grammatical but i don't think there is any obvious difference between them and they both simply want to say that 'I had a bath at 7 a.m today'. :)
     

    avlee

    Senior Member
    Chinese - P.R.C.
    (1) 我做
    (2) 我做飯
    What's the difference?
    They are grammatical but i don't think there is any obvious difference between them and they both simply want to say that 'I had a bath at 7 a.m today'. :)
    1st thing, they're very very close in meaning and interchangable in most cases as others explained above.
    2nd thing, I'm afraid the post starter wants to know the nuances between these two different word structures. Though, people argue that they are nearly equivalent to each other. There's a nuance between them as far as I can see.
    Verb+了+something means you've completed the action, focusing on the completion state of the action.
    While verb+something+了 means you DID the action, focusing on the action happened in the past which can be deemed as a typical past tense.
    With above nuance in mind, my translation for these two sentences may be: I've cooked the meal. AND I cooked the meal(Perhaps a few minutes ago, and not finished yet. Or it might have been done already, whatever.)
    Hope this helps a bit.
     
    Last edited:

    xiaolijie

    Senior Member
    UK
    English (UK)
    Verb+了+something means you've completed the action, focusing on the completion state of the action.
    While verb+something+了 means you DID the action, focusing on the action happened in the past which can be deemed as a typical past tense.
    With above nuance in mind, my translation for these two sentences may be: I've cooked the meal. AND I cooked the meal(Perhaps a few minutes ago, and not finished yet. Or it might have been done already, whatever.)
    This is a good try, but I don't think it'd help a learner to see the difference :). Let's try a slightly different approach:

    (1) 我做
    (2) 我做飯

    After saying sentence (1), you'll need to continue saying something else (or the sentence will sound incomplete); whereas after sentence (2), you don't need to go on.

    On a deeper level, the in above two sentences represents two different 了's, but I think to explain this here may confuse matters rather than help. To find out, you'd do better looking them up in a grammar dictionary.
     

    BODYholic

    Senior Member
    Chinese Cantonese
    (1) 我做
    (2) 我做飯

    What's the difference?
    (1) can be hypothetical and therefore may or may not express a past action. As xiaolijie has pointed out, usually a supporting phrase is needed to complete the sentence.

    (2) defines a past action. It is normally use to express thing in a matter-of-factly.

    Essentially, if both expressions were to express the same idea, then the difference is in the .

    Scenario A
    You have done cooking and a friend came to visit you unannounced. He wants to invite you for dinner.
    You reply, "我做飯, 所以."

    It's not idiomatic for Chinese to say this but you may also say, "我做飯, 所以."

    Scenario B
    In many Chinese dramas, you are likely to hear the mother ordering their kids at night to ... "澡 就觉.". In this case, the kids may or may not taken their shower at the point of speech.

    Scenario C
    "太阳山........" - Context omitted but given a plausible scenario, it will still make sense.
    "太阳下山." - The sun set. A matter of fact.

    Hope this helps.
     

    Senordineroman

    Senior Member
    USA English - Midwest
    I think that the "I've cooked the meal" and "I cooked dinner (yesterday)" makes perfect sense.

    I've done some reading about "le" in Chinese linguistics literature, and the whole issue of "two le's" versus "one le" is really debated.

    Thanks for the input!
     

    lesliechantw

    New Member
    English
    The first sentence is the "present progress", the equivalent of English is “I have made the cooking”
    The second is the “future tense” , in English, that is, I will make the cooking.
    The Chinese character “了” can be used to represent “the past tense”, “the present progress” and “the future tense”
    Please look at the following sentence, notice the different semantics.
    昨天晚上我看了一本書.
    This sentence has an ambiguous meaning, it can show two different meaning:
    1. Yesterday, I read a book. Just read, not complete.
    2.Yesterday, I have read a book. I not only read a book, but also finished reading it.
     

    alexcn

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    The first one is like sb. wants to express what he or she has done in a narrowtive way or to emphasize what he or she did do to someone else. and 2nd one is pretty much a response to the question '' did you make a meal?'' "yes, 我做饭了。" compared with "what did you do (at a particular time)?" "我做了饭(在...时候)"
     

    simonlue

    New Member
    Chinese
    (1) 我做
    (2) 我做飯

    What's the difference?
    1.了can be used after the verb or adj.as an auxiliary word to indicate completion.
    (1) 我(已经)做飯.The sentence means I have made the meal.
    2.了can be used in the middle or at the end of the sentence also as an auxiliary word to indicate a tone of certainty,the speeding up or stopping,
    interj.
    (2) (昨天)我做飯了.
    a:I made the meal(yesterday). (a tone of past certainty)
    我(要)做饭(去)了.
    b:I am going to make the meal. (a tone of future certainty)
    (3) 我正在做饭。
    I am preparing the meal.
    Hope it helps

    Simon
     
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