You are here

Lesson 33 Difference between le and de

preview

In this lesson, you will learn the difference between “le (了)” and “de (的)” for past tense through the comparison of the following two sentences:

tā zuó tiān huí jiā le

她 昨 天 回 家 。 (She went home yesterday.)

tā zuó tiān huí jiā de

她 昨 天 回 家 。 (She went home yesterday.)

In this lesson, you will learn the difference between “le (了)” and “de (的)” for past tense through the comparison of the following two sentences:

tā zuó tiān huí jiā le

她 昨 天 回 家 。 (She went home yesterday.)

tā zuó tiān huí jiā de

她 昨 天 回 家 。 (She went home yesterday.)

Comments (19)

unfortunately, I can't see the video from China ("video does not exist"). Could you check please?
yavor.nikolov 2 months 1 week ago
Should be fixed! Let me know if you're still having issues though.
Jason at Yoyo Chinese 2 months 1 week ago
Using the 是... 的 structure, can the specific information be why or is it always just when, where, with whom and how? For example: ni3 zhi1 dao4 wei4 shen2 me Lily qu4 na4 li3 le? Lily (shi) qu4 kan4 ta1 lao3 shi1 de Rose
RoseChau 10 months 2 weeks ago
Quick correction, it's Lily qù le nà lǐ, since the action is what's being completed. And yes, you can use shi...de for purpose of an action, though I'm not sure if that's how/why.
Jenny at Yoyo Chinese 10 months 2 weeks ago
hi! sorry I feel little bit confuse about the structure of the question. so If you use the 吗 at the end that means I can just answer a yes or no without actually gives a place in my answer ?
Kaori 10 months 2 weeks ago
The 吗 (ma) is a structure for questions that have yes/no answers. So yes, if you answer just yes without giving a place, it's grammatically correct. Nut I don't think anyone actually wants to hear just yes. So you would say instead, she went to X place. By answering with the place, it's implied that you meant yes, but gave a helpful answer to your friend's question. Hope that helps!
Jenny at Yoyo Chinese 10 months 2 weeks ago
Jenny thank you so much :3
Kaori 10 months 2 weeks ago
I suppose in English it would be the difference between saying "yesterday, she went home" and "she went home yesterday". Its the same words in a different order but it definitely carries a difference in meaning.
Dave Ashdown 1 year 1 month ago
This concept is driving me crazy. I hope to get used to the two and not messed them up.
Marlon Argueta 2 years 5 months ago
Is there anything troubling you? Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 5 months ago
I presume the complete form is 她 是 昨 天 回 家 的 using the 是... 的 structure from lesson 22.
S4C 2 years 5 months ago
Yes, exactly.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 5 months ago
In your given example: '你知道Lily去那里了吗' You placed '了' after '那里' because there was nothing descriptive in the sentence that would allow 了 appear after '去'? 对不对 If that's the case, could you give me an example where you could add something descriptive and still have the sentence end with 吗? 谢谢
Floren 2 years 8 months ago
In this sentence, the 了 can also be placed directly after the verb. So, 你Lily知道去了哪里吗 is also okay. But to help us understand your question better, could you please explain a little about your understanding that having something descriptive in a sentence determines where the 了 is placed? Thanks!
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 8 months ago
Well, I was referring to conversational Chinese lesson 90. Having something descriptive in a sentence vs simple sentence.
Floren 2 years 8 months ago
Okay, thanks. We've had some discussion about your question. Hopefully this is a better answer for you this time. When the object of a verb is a place (or words that refer to a place, like 哪里), then usually the 了 is placed at the end. In some cases, you also can place 了 after the verb, but doing that will usually change the meaning a bit. If we say 你知道Lily去了哪里吗, it means more like "Do you know where Lily has gone?"
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 8 months ago
But depending on the context, it could also mean "Do you know where Lily has been?" So the rule about where to place the 了 is not as simple and straight forward here as it is in the types of sentence examples described in lesson 90.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 8 months ago
Must you not say: Ta shi zuotian hui jia de
Harmina 2 years 11 months ago
This is grammatically correct as well. Often times, Chinese people tend to omit the shi4 and it's okay too.
Yoyo Chinese 2 years 11 months ago
Instant Access to all
Free Yoyo Chinese Content