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了 to describe an entire... *gestures at everything*


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I was at a Big Event recently, an event so big that a certain Nobel Prize-winning author was also speaking there. I even had a student volunteer minder appointed to me to make sure I didn't get lost on the way to the venue across the street. A foreign sinologist friend of mine was also at the event and we decided it would be nice to take a picture of us two together at the event backdrop that was put up in the lobby. The student volunteer was happy to take the picture. But as we came to the backdrop, we saw that the Nobel Prize-winning author was there, patiently being photographed by a small crowd of journalists. The student volunteer saw the situation and said, as she realised this was not a convenient moment, "Ò,莫言了。"


My friend and I were amazed by that use of 了. It really summarised the entire situation perfectly.

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