<Did/Do/Will you have to> work overtime?


Senior Member
Canada, English

How can you distinguish between "Did you have to 加班", "Do you have to 加班" and "Will you have to 加班" in Chinese? (How can I ask this question?)
For example: 你今天需要加班吗?
Could this mean "Did you have to 加班 today?", "Do you have to 加班 today?" and "Will you have to 加班 today?"
  • eversummer

    Chinese - China
    "你今天需要加班吗?" cannot mean 'Did you have to 加班'. It can mean 'Do/will you have to 加班 today' but more accurately, it means 'Will you 加班 today?' If we want to express the meaning 'Do/will you have to 加班 today', we would say “你今天必须加班吗?”。


    My attempt:

    Did you have to 加班:你当时/那时不得不加班吗?(it happened in the past.)
    Will you have to 加班:你今天晚上/明天不得不加班吗?(it will happen in the future.)
    In Chinese, you just need to include or state the time frame (当时/那时/今天晚上/明天), then the tense is very clear.

    The present tense is very tricky, I am still uncomfortable with the present tense. If I made any mistakes, please correct me.

    I have to work overtime:我总是不得不加班。(This is a repeated action.)
    I am working overtime now==>我现在在加班。
    I have to work overtime now==> I think this sentence is wrong, but most Chinese people, including me, always make mistakes like this.
    Do you have to 加班:你常常/总是/经常不得不加班吗?

    note one more thing:
    I work in London ==>我在伦敦工作(In this situation, adding 常常/总是/经常 makes it weird.)
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