Difference between revisions of "Expressing "only after" with "cai""

 
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[[Category: B2 grammar points]]
 
[[Category: B2 grammar points]]
 
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{{Basic Grammar|才|B2|⋯⋯,才⋯⋯|我 很 多 时间 , <em>才</em> 完成 了 任务 。|grammar point|}}
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{{Basic Grammar|才|B2|⋯⋯,才⋯⋯|那 本 书 两 遍 <em>才</em> 看 懂。|grammar point|ASG9E9A6}}
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{{Similar|Expressing lateness with "cai"}}
 
{{Similar|"As long as" with "zhiyao"}}
 
{{Similar|"As long as" with "zhiyao"}}
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{{Similar|Expressing difficulty with "hao (bu) rongyi"}}
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{{Similar|Expressing "all the way until" with "zhidao"}}
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{{Similar|Comparing "cai" and "jiu"}}
 
{{Used for|Indicating conditions}}
 
{{Used for|Indicating conditions}}
 
{{Structure|Conditional Statements}}
 
{{Structure|Conditional Statements}}

Latest revision as of 07:20, 28 November 2019

Chinese-grammar-wiki-Cai.jpg

These patterns using 才 are loosely related, and revolve around a meaning of "only when," "only after," "only then," or "not until." They suggest a condition without stating the condition as explicitly as in the pattern 只有……才…….

才 as "Only When" or "Only After"

Structure

⋯⋯,才⋯⋯

⋯⋯ ,才 ⋯⋯

Examples

In these examples, you'll notice that the first half of the sentence involves some kind of "difficulty," usually involving spending a lot of time, money, or effort. The second half tells what was finally achieved after spending all that time, money, or effort. The English translation which tends to work most reliably for these sentences is "only after," but multiple translations are possible.

  • 我 花 了 八 千 块 买 到 了 旅游 的 东西。 Wǒ huā le bā qiān kuài cái mǎi dào le lǚyóu de dōngxi.Only after spending 8000 RMB was I able to buy all the things for the trip.
  • 小明 花 了 很 多 心思 设计 出 了 这 张 海报。Xiǎomíng huā le hěn duō xīnsi cái shèjì chū le zhè zhāng hǎibào.Only after putting a lot of thought into it was Xiao Ming able to design this poster.
  • 他 用 了 很 多 年 原谅 了 他的 妈妈。 Tā yòng le hěn duō nián cái yuánliàng le tā de māma.only after many years was he able to forgive his mom.
  • 那 本 书 我 看 了 两 遍 看 懂。Nà běn shū wǒ kàn le liǎng biàn cái kàn dǒng.I had to read that book twice in order to understand it.
  • 我 去 了 三 次 北京 见 到 了 那个 客户。Wǒ qù le sān cì Běijīng cái jiàn dào le nàge kèhù.Only after making three trips to Beijing was I finally able to meet that client.
  • 他 找 了 好 几 个 月 找到 合适 的 房子 。Tā zhǎo le hǎo jǐ gè yuè cái zhǎodào héshì de fángzi.He searched for quite a few months, and only then was he able to find a suitable apartment.

才 as "Not Until"

This use of 才 is quite similar to the 才 used to express lateness. The two sort of blend together.

Structure

⋯⋯,才⋯⋯

⋯⋯ ,才 ⋯⋯

Examples

Note that rather than following a set pattern, the English translation sentences below make use of a number of different translations. "Not until," "didn't... until," "only then," and "only after" may all be appropriate, depending on the context of the original Chinese.

  • 她 做 完 了 功课 睡觉。Tā zuò wán le gōngkè cái shuìjiào.Not until she finished her homework did she go to sleep.
  • 他 锁 上 了 门 想起来 没有 带 钥匙。Tā suǒ shàng le mén cái xiǎng qǐlái méiyǒu dài yàoshi.He didn't realize he had forgotten to bring his key until after he had locked the door.
  • 我 把 牛奶 喝 完 了, 发现 牛奶 过期 了。Wǒ bǎ niúnǎi hē wán le, cái fāxiàn niúnǎi guòqī le.I finished off the milk, and only then did I discover that it was expired.
  • 等 妈妈 打 来 了 电话,宝宝 不 哭 了。Děng māma dǎ lái le diànhuà, bǎobao cái bù kū le.Only after her mom called did the baby stop crying.

Sources and further reading

Books