He retired as far back as 5 years ago

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Senior Member

Can you tell me,please if there`s any difference in meaning between the two interpretations of 'He retired as far back as 5 years ago'?

1 .他五年前就退休了
2. 他退休了五年了

Thank you.
  • SuperXW

    Senior Member
    In general, I don't think there's any significant difference.
    You may pick anyone that fits better the structure of your context.
    Some may argue that there are small differences in the emphasis, even the timeline. I don't think they are significant enough to be sensed by most people.


    Senior Member
    1 .他五年前就退休了 = It was five years ago when he retired.
    2. 他退休了五年了=
    I believe in your own mother tongue, you would level on some words if the order of words changes. So is Chinese.

    For native speakers of Chinese, in the dialogue, a few people would pay attention to the emphasis of the some words. I would say mostly it is the personal habit about how to construct a sentence. For the senteces you posted, it might be the speakers try to level on some words; and it could be just a personal habit to say it, and the speaker might not even be conscious what s/he emphasizes on, therefore. That is why context, and source are so important.

    2. 他退休五年了:cross:
    他退体五年了。 (without the first 了 =He has retired since five years ago.
    五年了。He has retired. (It has been) Five years. Very colloquial

    PS. I don't try to argue with anyone, but share my own input. discuss or share =/= argue.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    I beg to differ but 他退休了五年了(without comma or pause) is perfectly correct to me. This is just like 他死了年了,他睡觉睡了两天了,他昏迷了一年了 and I see no problem with them.

    For the difference between the two sentences, I would say it's mostly the grammar and not the meaning. The first one is more like 'He retired as far back as 5 years ago', and second one is more like 'He has retired for 5 years already'.


    Cantonese, English & French
    Try not to use 了 twice because native speakers would probably find it better with 了 once.
    But, grammatically speaking, it is correct and understandable.
    There is a slight difference between those two sentences as mentioned above.


    他退休了五年了。He has retired. (It has been) Five years. Very colloquial
    This structure is ok, but the meaning is changed and we need context to understand this precisely.

    I agree with fyl:
    他退休了五年了 is perfectly ok.
    In fact, the first 了 is often muttered quickly, but it is definitely there, similar to voiceless stops in English.

    他退休五年了 is also correct.


    Cantonese, English & French
    I think that 他退休了五年了 could be used in an informal way, but if it is in an essay or in a very inform/serious way, it is better to use 他退休五年了
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