Lesson 2 from Online BLCU Chinese Teacher Angela: 就jiù and 才cái

Online BLCU Chinese Teacher Angela’s second lesson for you: the difference between ”jiù”就 and ”cái”才. 

A lot of people get confused when they learn how to use these two words: 就 and才. And it’s understandable, so let’s see what useful tips Angela can give you: 

Early or late? (the difference between jiù and cái)

You think the party that starts at 7:00 is too early? I think it starts too late!

One of my students asked me what the difference is between”jiù”and ”cái”when they are used after a time word.

This is a good question!

We use”jiù” to show that an action happens or will happen earlier than expected, and we use ”cái” to show an action happens or will happen later than expected.

Let’s see the two sentences.

Wǎnhuì qī diǎn jiù kāishǐ le!

晚会7点就开始了!

Wǎnhuì qī diǎn cái kāshǐ.

晚会7点才开始!

”Jiù” is used to show something happens or will happen earlier than expected. And there is often a “le” at the end of the sentence.

jiu The structure is

“time word + jiù + V +O+ le”

So, 晚会7点就开始了!means “The party started as early as 7:00.”

 

The word “jiù” shows that the party started earlier than the speaker expected.

才 “cái” is used after a time word and before a verb to emphasizes that the action happens or will happen later than expected.

The structure iscai

“time word + cái + V + O”

晚会7点才开始!means “The party won’t begin until 700.” The word “cái” shows that the party started late than the speaker expected.

Qīn’ài de, wǒ jīntiān wǔ diǎn jiù xiàbān le. wǒmen qù kàn diànyǐng, hǎo ma?

亲爱的,我今天五点就下班了。我们去看电影,好吗?

Dear, I already got off work as early as 5:00. Let’s go watch a movie together, Ok?

Diànyǐng yǐjīng kāishǐ le, nǐ zěnme xiànzài cái lái?

电影已经开始了,你怎么现在才来?

The movie has already started. Why didn’t you arrive until now?

duìbuqǐ, wǒ wǔ diǎn jiù chūmén le, kěshì lù shàng dǔchē.

对不起,我五点就出门了,可是路上堵车。

Sorry. I left at 5:00, but there was a traffic jam on the way.

blcu teacherNow can you leave a message and tell me what you should say when your Chinese friend is late for your appointment?

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