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bz_watcher

累了 vs 很累?

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bz_watcher

Hi, I'm going through the spoonfed anki deck and saw this sentence:

你累了,不是嗎?

 

I'm not fully understanding the 了 in the sentence. Is this because it's a "change in state"?

 

can we also say:

你很累,不是嗎?

 

What's the difference?

 

 

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Demonic_Duck
1 hour ago, bz_watcher said:

Is this because it's a "change in state"?

 

Yes.

 

1 hour ago, bz_watcher said:

What's the difference?

 

Practically speaking, not much in most situations. Tiredness is a transitory state, so a recent change from not-tired to tired is usually the case. In the rarer situation that such a change hadn't recently taken place (e.g. you had been tired for a long time), you wouldn't use 累了.

 

Other recent state changes can also use -了, for example 饿了、困了、口渴了、饱了.

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889

Compare:

 

A. I'm real tired.

 

B. I'm tired out.

 

Think how you'd explain the subtle difference in these sentences to Chinese studying English.

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黄有光

You are right that the 了 here indicates change of state. The sentence 你累了 is equivalent to saying 你以前不累。你现在很累 (At some point in the presumably recent past, you were not tired, and now you are). The other sentence, 你很累, gives us less information (You are tired).

 

Just as a side note -- one of the things that drove me crazy about 了 when I was learning how to use it for change-of-state was how different it was from past tense. Being a native English speaker, my mind was just wired to view things through the lens of tenses, and it was very difficult to break out of that. However, I think I can say a few things that might help, if you find yourself struggling with that.

 

Indo-European languages like English require the use of the past tense in situations where an action takes place in that time frame. But the change-of-state 了 is comparatively speaking more optional. Of course there are situations where it is required, but there are also a LOT of situations where you can either use it or not, depending on how much information you want to provide. 你很累 vs. 你累了 is an example of this. Depending on the situation, it may make more sense to use one or the other, but a lot of the time, which one you choose has more to do with what amount of information you want to give. Do you want to emphasize a change? Use 了. If not, then don't.

 

It's the same for sentences like 我有一只猫咪 vs. 我有了一只猫咪.  You should use the second one to emphasize or inform that you acquired a cat (you didn't used to have a cat, but now you do). The first one simply omits that information. Obviously it is presumable that you did not always have a cat, of course. But it is not always necessary or desirable to "talk about the before-time", as it were. You don't always need to talk about how there used to not be Terminators, and now there are. Sometimes it's enough to say the Terminators are there.

 

Anyway, I am only at approx. HSK4, so if any more advanced speakers want to chime in here, that would be welcome. But I hope this helps.

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JulieCD

Some time,  "了 " at the end of a sentence means a action is finished/ happened.

我做完作业了    --- I finished my homework.

 

昨天, 我去动物园了   --- Yesterday, I went to the zoo。

 

你累了,不是嗎? ---  (you have done something, )  you're tied, aren't you?

 

你很累,不是嗎?---currently you're in tied state

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