Taiwanese "you"

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Taiwanese Mandarin differs slightly from Mainland Mandarin. A characteristic of Taiwanese Mandarin is the usage of 有.

Basic Usage

Some verbs, especially when followed by certain complements, indicate completeness. When 有 is used with these verbs, it's a clear reference to the past.


Subj. + 有 + [Verb Phrase]


  • 我们 听懂 你 的 话 。We understood what you said.
  • 我们 都 听到 宝宝 哭 。We all heard the baby cry.
  • 看到 他们 吵架 。I saw them fighting.

When 有 is put in front of action verbs in Taiwanese Mandarin, it can indicate that the verb is still continuing.

  • 学 ,而且 很 喜欢 。He's studying it and he likes it very mych.
  • 吃 ,但是 不太 饿 。I have eaten, but I didn't eat much.

Adjectives after 有

Adjectives can also follow 有. This pattern is used in the past tense, and a 到 must follow the adjectives.


Subj. + 有 + Adj. + 到


  • 昨天 搬家 ,真的 I was moving yesterday and I was so tired.
  • 他 突然 要 分手 ,我 真的 He asked to break up out of nowhere. I was so hurt.
  • 你们 突然 大叫 着 跑 出来 ,我 真的 You guys suddenly came running out screaming loudly. I was so scared!

Adj. not in the past tense using 有

Some adjectives can follow 有 and are not used as the past tense.


Subj. + 有 + Adj.


  • 大家 都 激动 。Everyone is excited.
  • 紧张 吗 ?Do I look like I'm nervous?
  • 你 说话 不 礼貌 。The way you speak is impolite.

过 after the verb


Subj. + 有 + Verb + 过 + Obj.


  • 中国 。I have been to China.
  • 这 个 词 。I have studied this word.
  • 那 个 人 吗?Have you seen that person before?
  • 自己 做 饭 吗 ?Have you ever cooked for yourself?

在 after 有

In Standard Mandarin, using 在 before a verb is the equivalent to the English –ing. When used with 有 in front of it, it is usually referring to habitual action, or an action that can be stopped. This is not in the past tense, but rather a continuing action.


Subj. + 有 + 在 + Verb


  • 做 兼职 吗?Are you doing a part time job?
  • 考虑 跟 她 分手 。I am considering breaking up with her.
  • 我 妈妈 吃素 。My mom is now a vegetarian.

Sources and further reading