New HSK 3.0 Compliant Supplement Lessons

Level 2 Lesson 24.1 – Soon Will… / Almost… / Already…

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The 要……了 Structure | The 都……了 Structure

In today's video lesson we’ll learn how to use the 要……了 Structure to say "it''s almost..." in Chinese and the 都……了 Structure to say "it's already..." in Chinese.



Grammar 1: The 要……了 Structure · HSK 2

要(yào) is a very useful word in Chinese. We've already learned three usages before and in today's lesson we'll learn the fourth one. Here's a quick summary:

1. 要 as a Modal Verb, suggesting having the plan or intention to do something.
2. 要 as a Modal Verb, suggesting, should do something.
3. 要 as a Verb, suggesting to want something, to want to own something. 
4. 要 as a Modal Verb, suggesting “requiring; need”
5.  NEW  要 as a Modal Verb, suggesting (1) soon will or (2) soon to be going to

The fourth usage of 要 is what we will discuss in today's lesson - the 要……了 Structure. When the Modal Verb 要 suggests the meaning of "soon will...", it is usually used with Modal Particle 了 (Compare with Dynamic / Aspect Particle 了 here) at the end of the sentence as well, forming the 要……了 Structure.

Subject + + Predicate + 了

For example,

  • wǒ yào jiéhūn le
    I soon will get married.
  • Lǎo Zhōng yào hé tā qīzi líhūn le
    Old Zhong soon will get divorced with his wife.

In sentences with the 要……了 structure, the Subject is usually omitted because it is already implied by the context. (Review Grammar: Zero-Subject Sentences 无主句 Wúzhǔjù)

(Subject)+ Predicate + 了

For example,

  • yào xiàyǔ le
    (It) is going to rain soon.
  • yào shí'èr yuè le
    (It) is going to be December soon.


In some context, the 要……了 Structure can be translated as "it's almost..." in Chinese.

For example,

  • zhè bù diànyǐng yào wán le
    This "bu" (of) movie "soon will" end.
    This "bu" of movie is almost over.
  • yào shí yuè le
    (It) "soon will" (be) be October.
    (It) is almost October.


Grammar 2: The 快要……了 Structure · HSK 2

The 要……了 Structure can usually be used with the word 快(kuài, fast; quickly) as well, like this:

(Subject +)+ Predicate + 

Generally 快要……了 and 要……了 has the same meaning, only 快要……了 might sound a little bit sooner.

For example,

  • jīnglǐ kuài yào hé zhàngfu líhūn le
    (The) manager soon will get divorced with (her) husband.
  • yīnwèi xiǎng māma,nà ge háizi kuài yào kū le
    Because of missing (their mom), that kid is almost crying.
  • nǐ xiànzài zhǎng de zhēn shuài!wǒ kuài yào bú rènshi nǐ le!
    You look really handsome now! I almost (do) not recognize you!


Grammar 3: The 都……了 Structure - "It's Already..." in Chinese · HSK 2

We've learned 都(dōu) meaning "both/all" before. However, in the 都……了 Structure, the Adverb 都 suggests “already”, and is used together with Modal Particle 了 at the end of the sentences.

Subject + 都+ Predicate + 了

For example,

  • Xiǎo Zhāng dōu tán liàn'ài le
    Little Zhang is already in a romantic relationship.
  • wǒ dōu gěi tā xiě le sì fēng xìn le, tā hái méi huí wǒ
    I already wrote four "feng" (of) letters to him, he (has) not yet reply me.

Also when the Subject is implied, it can be omitted as well.

(Subject) 都+ Predicate + 了

For example,

  • dōu shíyī diǎn le
    (It) (is) already 11 o'clock.
  • dōu zǒu le shí nián le, nǐ hái zài děng shénme
    (The person) (has) already gone (for) 10 years, what are you still waiting (for)?
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