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Talking About the Recent Past

Perfective Guo in Mandarin Chinese Grammar


Guo Le

Guo Le - Used for the Recent Past

The particle guò can be used to talk about the past. When used by itself, it usually refers to the remote past and previous experiences. It can also be used with the particle le to indicate actions in the more recent past.

Perfective Guò

The perfective construction guò + le is used to refer to events in the recent past. When gāng gāng or gāng cái (just now) are part of the sentence, the le may be omitted.

Guò always follows the Functive Verb (action verb) in a sentence. Le appears after guò, but if the sentence contains an object, the object comes between guò and le.

Here are some examples of the Perfective Guò:

Wŏ chī guò le.
I have eaten.

Māma gēn tā shuō guò le.
Mother has spoken to him.

Tā kān guò le.
He has read it.

Mèi mei dă guò diànhuà le.
Little sister has dialed the phone.

Tā gāng cái qù guò.
She has just left.

Tā gāng gāng chāng guò gè.
He has just sung a song.

Perfective Questions

To ask a question using the perfective guò, simply add ma or méiyŏu after le.

Ni chī guò le méiyŏu?
Have you eaten?

Māma gēn tā shuō guò le ma?
Has Mother spoken to him?

Tā kān guò le méiyŏu?
Has he read it?

Mèi mei dă guò diànhuà le ma?
Has little sister dialed the phone?

Perfective Negatives

Negative sentences are formed by using hái méi before the functive verb. Guò and le are not used.

Tā hái méi chī.
He hasn’t eaten.

Māma hái méi gēn tā shuō.
Mother hasn’t spoken to him.

Tā hái méi kān.
He hasn’t read it.

Mèi mei hái méi dă diànhuà.
Little sister hasn’t dialed the phone.
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