Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by IgorM, Jan 13, 2013.
Can you tell me the difference between 我吃饭了 and 我吃了饭 ?
A-你吃饭了吗？Have you had your meal ?
A-你吃了什么？What did you have?
B-我吃了米饭。I had rice.
Thank you, zhg
Zhg, there is a clear difference between your sentence 我吃了米饭 and the OP's 我吃了饭. You can normally stop after 我吃了米饭 if you like but you can't do that with 我吃了饭. One normally has to say something else following 我吃了饭, (such as 就走, and the phrase would mean "after eating..."). This is a very important detail for learners to know.
Hi xiaolijie，I don't think one necessarily has to add something after 我吃了饭 if he wants to emphasize the food he had was rice rather than noodle or dumplings or something else.
True, but that is more like an exception, zhg. It'd be more useful to tell learners what is common rather than the exception. You can say the same if someone asks what 下了课 means.
IgorM, you add 了 to the end of a sentence to inform of something you've done or some change that has been done or has happened (which results in a new situation), such as telling your friends that you've found a job, got married, etc.
No ,that's not an exception,that's how I understand the sentence “我吃了饭” without following anything. If you want to use 了 in that way , 就 is usually required ,together they form a structure "Verb+了+Object+就+Verb" to indicate a future action。
On second thought, 就 can be omitted in some cases
走，下了课，我们去打篮球。However I guess we have been off the topic, Xiaolijie
It's worth noticing 饭 can mean both rice and meal.
It's difficult to tell the difference in a logic way. I have thought a little bit and have the following suggestions. I may be wrong since I'm not a linguist.
Look at these sentences.
There are two 了's in each sentence. The first 了 indicates "the action 'eat' is finished", and the second indicates "the action 'finish eating' has been finished". A literal translation would be
Have you finished eating meal?
I have finished eating meal.
When you don't need "have finished", the second 了 is absent:
我们吃了饭就走=we will go when we finish eating
昨天我们吃了饭（后 can be omitted）就走了=we have gone after finished eating yesterday
I know in English we can also say "We went away after we had finished eating" (or can we?). But in Chinese 我们吃了饭了就走了 is seldom used. I don't know how to explain this.
The first 了 in the above examples can be replaced with 完/过.
As for "你吃饭了吗？我吃饭了。", I think that's just a simplified version of “你吃了/过/完饭了吗？我吃了/过/完饭了。".
我吃了饭 - Without any time marker, I would conveniently assume the action of 吃 has ended.
明天，我吃了饭才去你家。 - Tomorrow I will pay you a visit after my meal.
我吃饭了 is a bit tricky because of the way native speakers use it. Most of time, it means 我(开始)吃饭了. And it is obvious that the action of 吃 is usually about to begin or has barely started.
1. When dinner is ready to serve, my Mum might say "吃饭了!" or "来！吃饭了!"
2. There are times when the meal is ready, and I'm the only one tuck into it. I would announce loudly "我吃饭了", or "妈!我吃饭了". I guess this is akin to Japanese's いただきます.
But I really have no clue why do we omit "开始" in the sentence.
Separate names with a comma.