Answer to the Exercise on Must-know Difference between “过(guò)” and “了(le)”

Correct Answer: B
In the Chinese language, both “过(guò)” and “了(le)” can be used following verbs to show that something has happened.

They are both usually used in the same structure: Subject + Verb + “过(guò)” / “了(le).”

However, their precise meanings differ from one another.

Generally, “过(guò)” places stress on the thing or the experience itself, meaning that somebody has experienced something in the past.

The structure is: Subject + Verb + 过(guò) + Object


Wǒ qù guò Běijīng.
我     去  过    北京。
I have been to Beijing.

Liú Xīn: Nǐ kàn guò shàonián pài de qíhuàn piāoliú ma?
刘   心:你     看   过  《少年       派  的   奇幻     漂流》 吗?
Liu Xin: Have you ever seen the film Life of Pi?

Linda: Wǒ kàn guò! Zhè bù diànyǐng fēicháng bàng!
Linda:我    看   过!  这  部    电影            非常       棒!
Linda: Yes I have! I think the film is really great!

Because “过(guò)” is used to talk about past actions, it is negated with “没(méi).”
The structure is: Subject + 没(méi) + Verb + 过(guò) + Object


Wǒ méi qù guò Zhōng’guó.
我      没   去  过      中国。
I have never been to China.

“了(le)” places stress on the action itself, and emphasizes the the completion of an action.


Zǎoshang, wǒ  chī le liǎng’gè jīdàn, hē le yìbēi niúnǎi.
早上,       我    吃 了   两个   鸡蛋,喝 了 一杯   牛奶。
I ate two eggs and drank one glass of milk for my breakfast.

Zuótiān wǒ mǎi le yìběn shū.
昨天      我 买  了  一本   书。
Yesterday, I bought a book.

Additionally, “了(le)” can be used as a modal particle to express certain emotions, such as surprise, anger, etc.


Kàn! Jim lái le!
看! Jim 来 了!
Look! Here comes Jim!

Bié chǎo le!
别    吵   了!
Be quiet!

In our test, Zhang Wei wants to know whether Nancy has had the experience of eating Beijing Roast Duck. The focus of their conversation is on the past experience itself, not the action of eating. This means the correct answer is B.
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