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Expressing earliness with "jiu"

Just as 才 (cái) can express lateness, 就 (jiù) can be used to indicate that something happened earlier than expected.


The pattern is as follows:

Subj. + Time + 就 + Verb + Obj.

In English this might be expressed with "as early as", but usually it's not specifically marked.


  • 我 昨晚 八 点 半 睡觉 了!Wǒ zuówǎn bā diǎn bàn jiù shuìjiào le. I went to bed at half past eight last night.
  • 我们 早上 九点 上课,可是 他 八点 来 了。Wǒmen zǎoshang jiǔ diǎn shàngkè, kěshì tā bā diǎn jiù lái le.We have class at nine in the morning, but he came at eight.
  • 爷爷 每天 五点 起床 了。 Yéye měitiān wǔdiǎn jiù qǐchuáng le.Grandpa gets up at five o'clock every day.
  • 她 十八 岁 大学 毕业 了。Tā shíbā suì jiù dàxué bìyè le.She graduated from college when she was only 18 years old.
  • 我 奶奶 五十 多 岁 去世 了。Wǒ nǎinai wǔshí duō suì jiù qùshì le. Grandma passed away in her fifties.

From the example sentences it is clear that naturally occurs with a verb used after 就. This is because verbs following 就 generally have the feeling of being completed.

See also

Sources and further reading