Grammar Point Summary

by Chinese2020.com

【才 cái 】

才 (cái) is very commonly used in Chinese. Its meaning might be hard to understand.

(1) As a noun, 才 means "ability; talent; sb of a certain type; a capable individual".

     他很有,语文、数学、英语都很好

     He is very talent. He is good at Chinese, math and English.

     她既漂亮又有

     She is both beautiful and talent.

(2) 才 means "only, just" implyinging something in small quantity.

    

     我吃了两个包子,我还饿

     I only ate two baozi. I am still hungry.

     现在六点钟,校车还没有来

     It is only six o'clock now. Schoolbus has not come yet.

     班上两三个人,老师怎么上课啊?

     There is only three students in class. How can teacher start class?

     我来到德州十天

     I came to Texas just ten days ago.

     我的作业做了一点点

     I just did a tiny bit of my homework.

     他们认识一天就成了好朋友

     They only met one day ago and became good friends.

(3) 才 means “not until” implying lateness in time. It usually precedes a verb.

    

     他三十岁大学毕业

     Not until he was thirty he graduated from college.

     你怎么现在来?我们都吃完了

     Why did you come unitl now? We all finished our meals.

     今天工作太忙,我晚上八点回家

     Today I was too busy with my work. I did not come home until eight.

     他等了十几分钟,服务员把他的汤送了上来

     He waited for more than ten minutes. The waiter finally send him his soup.

Note that verbs following 才 cannot take 了,as the action does not have the sense of being completed.

     他三十岁大学毕业

(4) 才 implying the result of certain necessary conditions, which is like emphasizing "then" part in "only if (只有)... then..." structure.

    

     (只有)像他这样吃饭

     It will be OK (only if) if eating like he does.

     (只有)这样做

     It's OK (only if) you doing it this way.

     (只有)努力学习你能上一个好的大学

     (Only if) Study hard and you can finally go to a good college.

     我的车前天刚刚买的,(只有)这叫新车

     I just bought this car two days ago. (Only) This is really a new car.

     (只有)到了上海,我知道什么叫大城市

     (Only) Arriving in Shanghai, I realized what a big city means.

(5) 才 used for emphasis.

    

     他可爱呢!

     He is really cute!

     他很烦人!我不跟他玩呢!

     He is very annoying. I (absolutely) won't play with him.

     包子怎么这么贵?我不买呢

     How come is Baozi so expensive? I (certainly) won't buy it.

     那里一点也不好玩,我不去呢

     It's not fun there. I (definitely) won't go there.

     你说她漂亮?我觉得我漂亮呢

     You said she is beautiful? But I feel I am beautiful (not her).