Chinese Grammar

Chinese Grammar: The Usage of Adverb 就 jiù 'only,uniqueness'

When 就 jiù precedes a verb phrase that is not linked to another verb phrase,it conveys the meaning of uniqueness.

 

 

In some sentences,this meaning is best translated by the English word 'only':

wǒ jiù yí kuài qián 。
我 就  一 块   钱   。
I only have one dollar.

 
In some contexts,就 jiù conveys precise identification of a noun phrase.If the noun phrase is a person or place,there may be no English equivalent for 就 jiù.

wánɡ : nǐ zhǎo shuí ?
王   : 你 找   谁   ?
wánɡ :Who are you looking for?

lín : wǒ zhǎo wánɡ měi línɡ 。
林  : 我 找   王   美  玲   。
lín : I am looking fro Wang Meiling.

wánɡ : wǒ jiù shì 。
王   : 我 就  是  。
wánɡ : That's me.

 
If the noun phrase is a pecifier or a directional expression,就 jiù may be translated 'right' or 'precisely'.

Q : zhào jīnɡ lǐ de bàn ɡōnɡ shì zài nǎ ér ?
Q : 赵   经   理 的 办  公   室  在  哪 儿 ?
Where is Manager Zhao's office?
 
A : tā de bàn ɡōnɡ shì jiù zài zhè ér 。
A : 她 的 办  公   室  就  在  这  儿 。
Her office is right here.

bàn ɡōnɡ shì
办  公   室  
n.office

Q : tú shū ɡuǎn zài nǎ ér ?
Q : 图 书  馆   在  哪 儿 ?
Where is the library?

A : jiù zài huǒ chē zhàn duì miàn
A : 就  在  火  车  站   对  面   
Right across from the train station.

tú shū ɡuǎn
图 书  馆   
n. library

huǒ chē zhàn
火  车  站   
n. train station

就 jiù is also used to link two verb phrase and to signal a relationship of sequence between them.

wǒ kàn le bào zhǐ yǐ hòu jiù shuì jiào 。
我 看  了 报  纸  以 后  就  睡   觉   。
After I read the newspaper I will go to sleep.

tā hěn cōnɡ mínɡ , yì xué jiù huì 。
她 很  聪   明   , 一 学  就  会  。
She is really smart,As sson as she studies it she gets it.

 
就 jiù usually precedes negation,but it may also follow negation.

zhè jiàn shì qínɡ bú jiù shì wǒ yí ɡè rén zhī dào 。
这  件   事  情   不 就  是  我 一 个 人  知  道  。
(As for) this matter,it is not just I who knows.

 
The adverb 就 (jiù) is used before a verb to suggest the earliness, briefness, or quickness of the action.

lì rú :
例 如 :
For instance:

1.他明天七点就得上课。
1.Tā míngtiān qī diǎn jiù děi shàng kè.
1.He has to go to class [as early as] at 7:00am tomorrow.

2.我们八点看电影, 他七点半就来了。
2.Wǒmen bā diǎn kàn diànyǐng, tā qī diǎn bàn jiù lái le.
2.We [were supposed to] see the movie at 8:00, but he came [as early as] 7:30.


就 (jiù) and 才 (cái)
The adverb 就 (jiù) suggests the earliness or promptness of an action in the speaker’s judgment.
The adverb 才 (cái) is the opposite.

It suggests the tardiness or lateness of an action as perceived by the speaker.

A1: 八点上课,小白七点就来了。
A1: Bā diǎn shàng kè, Xiǎo Bái qī diǎn jiù lái le.
A1: Class started at 8:00, but Little Bai came [as early as] 7:00.

B1: 八点上课,小张八点半才来。
B1: Bā diǎn shàng kè, Xiǎo Zhāng bā diǎn bàn cái lái.
B1: Class started at 8:00, but Little Zhang didn’t come until 8:30.

A2: 我昨天五点就回家了。
A2:Wǒ zuótiān wǔ diǎn jiù huí jiā le.
A2:Yesterday I went home when it was only 5:00.
(The speaker thought 5:00 was early.)

B2: 我昨天五点才回家。
B2:Wǒ zuótiān wǔ diǎn cái huí jiā.
B2:Yesterday I didn’t go home until 5:00.
(The speaker thought 5:00 was late.)


When commenting on a past action, 就 (jiù) is always used with 了 (le) to indicate promptness, but 才 (cái) is never used with 了.

 

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