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Sentences with 没有...以前

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in the northern hemisphere and in northern China, the shady side of a mountain will be the northern slope and the shady side of a river valley will be the southern slope. The reason is that the sun is always in the southern side of the sky if one is in the northern hemisphere. Likewise, the sunny side of a mountain will be the southern side, whereas the sunny side of a river valley will be the northern side.

My understanding is more or less the same. Otherwise it would be difficult to understand/remember them.

Everyday language is sometimes illogical. We have recently discussed "出乎意料", "意料之外" and "出乎意料之外" on another thread. To me the three mean the same, but one might feel that somehow something is redundant here (and I prefer the last version :lol: ).

BTW, to make a quote box, the close tag should be "", not "[/unquote]". Or you can simply click "Close Tags" (in blue on the upper right hand corner of the space where you type your message).

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Hashirikata, your question is very interesting, and I think Altair gives a very good answer. This Chinese construction reminds me of a very similar case in Spanish, involving, as Altair mentioned, the preposition "hasta".

In fact, your Chinese example can be translated into Spanish as:

Hasta que se casó estaba muy solo (1)


Hasta que no se casó estaba muy solo (2)

The latter sentence adds an illogical "no" with no change in meaning. Historically, this second construction originated from a sloppy confusion of "until" and "while". Although Spanish grammarians have traditionally frowned upon that illogical use of the negative, it has become so common, even in good literature, that it is generally accepted as correct these days.

Another example of a pleonastic use of the negative that goes against logical analysis would be the double negatives occasionally used by some English speakers, like "he didn't say nothing", which usually means "he said nothing", and not "he said something". In English such double negatives are regarded as bad grammar, but they are the norm in other languages, like Spanish or Russian, for example.

I suppose something similar has happened in Chinese with the 以前 construction. What I don't know is whether the unnecessary 没有 might be regarded as bad style by some speakers.

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