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Clearing up Confusion Between “zhe 着” and “le 了” for Children to Learn Chinese

Jul. 22, 2022

The teachers at eChineseLearining have found that many non-Chinese children felt confused about the use of “zhe 着” and “le 了”, and kept making mistakes when using the two characters. Watch the video below, and your kid will find it easy to learn how to use them correctly.

Here is a quiz below. Let your child rearrange the words to form correct sentences.

 gōngyuán ménkǒu   yí liàng   xiǎo qìchē   tíng zhe
1. 公园 门口       一 辆    小 汽车    停 着

 gōngyuán ménkǒu   yí liàng   xiǎo qìchē   tíng le
2. 公园 门口       一 辆    小 汽车    停 了

Show this video lesson to your child to help him/her understand better.

Analysis:

 Gōngyuán ménkǒu tíng zhe yí liàng xiǎo qìchē.
1. 公园   门口  停 着 一 辆  小 汽车。
There is a car parking at the gate of the park.

The auxiliary word “zhe 着” is used behind verbs or adjectives, which indicates that an action is in progress or a state is ongoing.

In the existential sentence, the structure is:

Location + Verb + zhe 着 + Object

Here are some examples:

Ménkǒu zhàn zhe yí gè rén.
门口  站 着 一 个 人。
A man is standing by the door.

In this sentence, “ménkǒu 门口” is the location, “zhàn 站” is the verb, “yí gè rén 一个人” is the object. It means “a man is standing by the door”, so we use “zhe 着” here after the verb to indicate the action of a person who is standing by the door.

Zhuōzi shàng fàng zhe jǐ píng ɡuǒzhī.
桌子  上  放 着 几 瓶 果汁。
A few bottles of juice are on the table.

In this sentence, “zhuōzi shàng 桌子上” is the location, “fàng 放” is the verb, and “jǐ píng ɡuǒzhī 几瓶果汁” is the object. It means “a few bottles of juice are on the table”, so we use “zhe 着” here to indicate the state of a few bottles of juice being on the table.

 Gōngyuán ménkǒu tíng le yí liàng xiǎo qìchē.
2. 公园   门口  停 了 一 辆  小 汽车。
A car stopped at the gate of the park.

The auxiliary word “le 了” is used behind verbs or adjectives, which indicates that an action has been completed or the state has become the fact.

In the existential sentence, the structure is:

Location + Verb + le 了 + Object

Here are two examples:

Chē shàng lái le yí ɡè chéngkè.
车  上  来 了 一 个 乘客。
There came a passenger on the bus.

In this sentence, “chē shàng 车上” is the location, “lái 来” is the verb, “yí ɡè chéngkè 一个乘客” is the object. It means “there came a passenger on the bus”, so we use “le 了” here to indicate the action of a passenger who has boarded.

Wū lǐ zuò le yí gè rén.
屋 里 坐 了 一 个 人。
A man sat in the room.

In this sentence, “wū lǐ 屋里” is the location, “zuò 坐” is the verb, “yí gè rén 一个人” is the object. It means “a man sat in the room”, so we use “le 了” here to indicate the state of a person who has sat in the house.

Has your child grasped the differences between “zhe 着” and “le 了”? What other knowledge in Chinese your child finds difficult to learn? You are welcome to comment in the section below to tell us what your child thinks!

You May Want to Learn More :
“Summer Activity: Learn to Sing “XìngFú PāiShǒu Gē 幸福拍手歌” in Chinese with Your Child”
“The Most Easy Song for Children to Learn Chinese Greetings”
”Quiz and Analysis to the Chinese Measure Words “Zhī 只”, “Tóu 头” and “Gè 个””

HSK 1 quiz

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