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Mandarin Chinese Past Tense Verbs Couldn't Be Easier

Mandarin Chinese Past Tense Verbs Couldn't Be Easier

I want to demonstrate to you how easy Mandarin Chinese is when we look at how they describe verbs in the Past Tense.


Using English as a comparison lets take the verb "to go" as an example.

I go -> I went

What relation does the word "go" have with "went"? NONE! There isn't even 1 common letter between them! So think about how hard life is for the foreigner who is learning English that they must simply memorize these words that have no logical relation to one another.Mandarin Chinese Past Tense Verbs Couldn't Be Easier


How about Chinese? SO EASY! In Chinese when you want to describe past tense you simply ad the sound "le" after ANY verb and it becomes past tense. So using the verb "to go" as an example, in Mandarin Chinese it goes like this:

I go -> I go "le"

In order to simplify things above, I have used the English words of course. But that's all you need to learn in Mandarin Chinese. Learn the verbs and just add "le" when you want to express that verb in past tense. SO EASY! It's kind of like how we add "ed" to regular verbs in English.

I play -> I played

But of course in English we have many exceptions to this "ed" rule, making foreigners wonder if it even is a rule at all. French of course is the same which is again why I struggled with 10 years of French. But after only 2 years of learning Mandarin Chinese it was already better than my conversational French.

Let me show you yet again how easy Mandarin Chinese is when using the Past Perfect tense. Look at these 2 English sentences:

I ate fish

I have eaten fish

Both are using the verb "to eat" but the meanings are completely different. The first sentence is referring to something in the recent past (perhaps today or yesterday) while the other referring to eating anytime in the past, perhaps many years ago, conveying the idea that I have eaten fish at least once in my life at some point. In English the verb again must change ("ate" becomes "eaten") and further we need to add the verb "to have" in order to convey this meaning. Mandarin Chinese? Again VERY EASY. Simply add the word "guo" to any verb and you convey the idea of Past Perfect. So the 2 sentences above would be "

I eat "le" fish

I eat "guo" fish

Notice how I kept the verb as "eat" in the above examples, as that is how it goes in Chinese. Keep the original verb exactly as is and just add "le" or "guo" depending on what kind of past tense meaning you want to convey.

Hopefully I have already built up your confidence in your ability to master this surprisingly easy language.

by: Stanley Nickelson
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