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Expressing "already" with "yijing"

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已经⋯⋯了 (yǐjīng... le) is the basic pattern used to express "already" in Chinese. It's easy to forget the 了 (le) on the end, but using it will make your Chinese more natural.

Basic Usages

已经 (yǐjīng) with Verb Phrases

Structure

The most common structure is to use 已经⋯⋯了 (yǐjīng... le) with a verb phrase.

已经 + [Verb Phrase] + 了

Examples

  • 他们 已经with just a verbTāmen yǐjīng zǒu le.They've already left.
  • 已经 有 男朋友 with a verb phraseyǐjīng yǒu nánpéngyou le.I already have a boyfriend.
  • 宝宝 已经 会 说话 with a verb phraseBǎobao yǐjīng huì shuōhuà le.The baby can already speak.
  • 妈妈 已经 回来 with just a verbMāma yǐjīng huílái le.Mom has already come back.
  • 已经 上 飞机 with a verb phraseyǐjīng shàng fēijī le.He's already gotten on the plane.

已经 (yǐjīng) with Adjectives

Structure

Sometimes an adjective or a time noun is used instead of a typical verb phrase:

已经 + (很 +) Adj. + 了

Examples

  • 爸爸 妈妈 已经Bàba māma yǐjīng lǎo le.Mom and dad are already old.
  • 已经 很 便宜 Yǐjīng hěn piányi le.It is already very cheap.
  • 你 女朋友 已经 很 漂亮 Nǐ nǚpéngyou yǐjīng hěn piàoliang le! Your girlfriend is already very beautiful!
  • 你 的 感冒 已经 吗 ?Nǐ de gǎnmào yǐjīng hǎo le ma?Is your cold already better?
  • 已经 很 晚 ,我们 走 吧。Yǐjīng hěn wǎn le, wǒmen zǒu ba.It's already really late. Let's go.

已经 (yǐjīng) with Time Nouns

A "time noun" simply refers to almost any word in Chinese indicating a time something happened.

Structure

已经 + Time + 了

Examples

  • 已经 11点 ,女儿 还 没 回来 。Yǐjīng shíyī diǎn le, nǚ'ér hái méi huílái.It is already 11 o'clock, and my daughter has not returned.
  • 爷爷 已经 八十五 岁 Yéye yǐjīng bāshí-wǔ suì le.Grandpa is already eighty-five years old.
  • 我 学习 中文 已经 一 年 Wǒ xuéxí Zhōngwén yǐjīng yī nián le.I have already been studying Chinese for a year.
  • 他 在 洗手间 里 已经 半 个 小时 Tā zài xǐshǒujiān lǐ yǐjīng bàn gè xiǎoshí le.He has already been in the bathroom for half an hour.
  • 爸爸 去 北京 出差 已经 两 天 Bàba qù Běijīng chūchāi yǐjīng liǎng tiān le.It has already been two days since dad went to Beijing on business trip.

Negative Form

Structure

The negative structure simply adds a 不 (bù) after 已经 (yǐjīng), and before the verb (or possibly adjective).

已经 + 不 + Verb + 了

Examples

Generally this negative 已经 (yǐjīng) structure is translated into English as "not... anymore" rather than using the word "already."

  • 已经 喜欢 你 yǐjīng xǐhuan nǐ le.I don't like you anymore.
  • 已经 爱 他 的 猫 yǐjīng ài tā de māo le.He doesn't love his cat anymore.
  • 他们 已经 住 在 中国 Tāmen yǐjīng zhù zài Zhōngguó le.They don't live in China anymore.
  • 已经 需要 父母 的 钱 yǐjīng xūyào fùmǔ de qián le.I don't need my parents' money anymore.
  • 已经 在 Google 工作 吗 ?yǐjīng zài Google gōngzuò le ma? You don't work at Google anymore?

See also

Sources and further reading

Books

Dictionaries