Are You Finished 你完成了嗎 in Chinese

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The other day I accidentally told my Chinese tutor that I was perfect.

我說「我完全了!」

(我)(說)「(我)(完全)(了)!」

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄕㄨㄛ) [(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄨㄢˊ ㄑㄨㄢˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙)]

(wǒ)(shuō) [(wǒ)(wán quán)(le.)!]

(I)(to say, to speak) [(I)(complete, whole, totally, entirely)(intensifies preceding clause)!]

I said, “I am perfect!”

I was trying to explain that I had finished something.

她覺得好笑!

(她)[(覺)(得)](好笑)

(ㄊㄚ) [(ㄐㄩㄝˊ) (ㄉㄜ˙)] (ㄏㄠˇ ㄒㄧㄠˋ)

(tā)[(jué)(de.)](hǎo xiào)

(she)[(to feel)(particle connecting verb to adverb)] (funny, ridiculous)

She thought that was quite funny!

Then, she explained,

「妳還不是神!」

(妳)(還)(不)(是)(神)

(ㄋㄧˇ) (ㄏㄞˊ) (ㄅㄨˊ) (ㄕˋ ㄕㄣˊ)

(nǐ)(hái)(bú)(shì)(shén)

(you)(still)(not)(to be)(God)

“You still are not God!”

However, she understood what I wanted to say, so we discussed the difference between saying a project is complete or a person is complete.

Part of the challenge for an English speaker is the lack of helping verbs in Chinese grammar. Part of the challenge is to become familiar with the difference between words that look like they technically mean the same thing, but don’t quite.

Before we go further, let’s go over some of the vocabulary in the lesson:

生字生詞

ㄕㄥ ㄗˋ ㄕㄥ ㄘˊ

(shēng zì)(shēng cí)

(new character)(new word)

完成

ㄨㄢˊ ㄔㄥˊ

(wán chéng)

to complete, to accomplish

完全

ㄨㄢˊ ㄑㄨㄢˊ

(wán quán)

complete, whole, totally, entirely

好笑

ㄏㄠˇ ㄒㄧㄠˋ

(hǎo xiào)

laughable, funny, ridiculous

真好笑

ㄓㄣ ㄏㄠˇ ㄒㄧㄠˋ

(zhēn)(hǎo xiào)

(very)(funny)

好好笑喔

ㄏㄠˇ ㄏㄠˇ ㄒㄧㄠˋ ㄡ

(hǎo hǎo xiào)(ō)

so very funny + conversational expression sound

ㄕㄣˊ

(shén)

God

餅乾

ㄅㄧㄥˇ ㄍㄢ

(bǐng gān)

cookie

部落格❶

ㄅㄨˋ ㄌㄨㄛˋ ㄍㄜˊ

(bù luò gé)

blog

縫製

ㄈㄥˊ ㄓˋ

(féng zhì)

to sew, to make (clothes)

衣服

ㄧ ㄈㄨˊ

(yī fú)❷

clothes

ㄈㄥˊ

(féng)

to sew

ㄩㄥˋ

(yòng)

to use, to employ, to have to

ㄏㄨㄚ

(hūa)

to spend (verb), flower (noun)

磚塊烤爐

ㄓㄨㄢ ㄎㄨㄞˋ ㄎㄠˇ ㄌㄨˋ

(zhūan kuài)(kǎo lù)

brick oven

電影

ㄉㄧㄢˋ ㄧㄥˇ

(diàn yǐng)

movie

炒麵

ㄔㄠˇ ㄇㄧㄢˋ

(chǎo miàn)

fried noodles

逛街

ㄍㄨㄤˋ ㄐㄧㄝ

(guàng jiē)

window shop

聖誕節

ㄕㄥˋ ㄉㄢˋ ㄐㄧㄝˊ

(shèng dàn jié)

Christmas

禮物

ㄌㄧˇ ㄨˋ

(lǐ wù)

gift

整理

ㄓㄥˊ ㄌㄧˇ

(zhéng lǐ)

to arrange, to tidy up, to sort out

晚餐

ㄨㄢˇ ㄘㄢ

(wǎn cān)

evening meal

Get your free lesson pdf here

If you want to say you have completed a project, you use the word 完成 ㄨㄢˊ ㄔㄥˊ (wán chéng).

You can also say you have completed something by saying the verb followed by 好了 ㄏㄠˇ ㄌㄜ˙ (hǎo le.)

我 (verb) 好了。

我做好了餅乾!

(我)(做)[(好)(了)]❸(餅乾)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄗㄨㄛˋ) [(ㄏㄠˇ) (ㄌㄜ˙)] (ㄅㄧㄥˇ ㄍㄢ)

(wǒ)(zuò)(hǎo)(le.)(bǐng gān)

(I)(to make, to do)[(good, well)(emphasize completion)](cookie)

I finished making the cookies!

In my case, what I had wanted to say was:

我完成了寫我的部落格!

(我)(完成)(了)(寫)(我的)❹(部落格)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄨㄢˊ ㄔㄥˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄒㄧㄝˇ) (ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄅㄨˋ ㄌㄨㄛˋ ㄍㄜˊ)

(wǒ)(wán chéng)(le.)(xiě)(wǒ de.)(bù luò gé)

(I)(to complete, to accomplish)(emphasize completion)(to write)(my)(blog)

I finished writing my blog!

Previously, we had talked about specific words used depending on whether machines or hands are used in a project, so she gave me an example of using one of those verbs in this type of sentence.

我縫製好了我的衣服。

(我)(縫製)(好了)(我的)(衣服)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄈㄥˊ ㄓˋ) (ㄏㄠˇ ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄧ ㄈㄨˊ)

(wǒ)(féng zhì)(hǎo le.)(wǒ de.)(yī fú)

(I)(to sew)(to complete)(my)(clothes)

I finished sewing my clothes.

我縫完了我的衣服。

(我)(縫)(完)(了)(我的)(衣服)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄈㄥˊ) (ㄨㄢˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄨㄛˇㄉㄜ˙) (ㄧ ㄈㄨˊ)

(wǒ)(féng)(wán)(le.)(wǒ de.)(yī fú)

(I)(to sew)(to complete)(emphasize completion)(my)(clothes)

I finished sewing my clothes.

我縫好了我的衣服。

(我)(縫)(好了)(我的)(衣服)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄈㄥˊ) (ㄏㄠˇ ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄧ ㄈㄨˊ)

(wǒ)(féng)(hǎo le.)(wǒ de.)(yī fú)

(I)(to sew)(to complete)(my)(clothes)

I finished sewing my clothes.

If I want to mention how long it took to complete something, I can add words.

我用三個星期縫好了我新的衣服。

(我)(用)(三)(個)❺(星期)(縫)(好了)(我)(新)(的)❻(衣服)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄩㄥˋ) (ㄙㄢ) (ㄍㄜ˙) (ㄒㄧㄥ ㄑㄧˊ) (ㄈㄥˊ) (ㄏㄠˇ ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄒㄧㄣ) (ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄧ ㄈㄨˊ)

(wǒ)(yòng)(sān)(ge.)(xīng qí)(féng)(hǎo le.)(wǒ)(xīn)(de.)(yī fú)

(I)(to use)(three)(MW for numbers)(week)(to sew)(to complete)(my)(new)(adjective marker)(clothes)

It took me three weeks to finish sewing my new clothes.

我的老公用一年做完了磚塊烤爐。

(我的)(老公)(用)(一)(年)❺(做)(完)(了)(磚塊)(烤爐)

(ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄌㄠˇ ㄍㄨㄥ) (ㄩㄥˋ) (ㄧ) (ㄋㄧㄢˊ) (ㄗㄨㄛˋ) (ㄨㄢˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄓㄨㄢ ㄎㄨㄞˋ) (ㄎㄠˇ ㄌㄨˋ)

(wǒ de.)(lǎo gōng)(yòng)(yī)(nián)(zuò)(wán)(le.)(zhūan kuài)(kǎo lù)

(my)(husband)(to use)(one)(year)(to make)(to complete)(emphasize completion)(brick)(oven)

My husband took one year to finish making a brick oven.

If you finish doing something that doesn’t involve creating or making something, you just use that verb + 完了 ㄨㄢˊ ㄌㄜ˙(wán le.)

我看完了這部電影!很好看啊!

(我)(看)(完)(了)(這)(部)(電影) (很)(好)(看)(啊)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄎㄢˋ) (ㄨㄢˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄓㄜˋ) (ㄅㄨˋ) (ㄉㄧㄢˋ ㄧㄥˇ) (ㄏㄣˇ) (ㄏㄠˇ) (ㄎㄢˋ) (ㄚ)

(wǒ)(kàn)(wán)(le.)(zhè)(bù)(diàn yǐng) (hěn)(hǎo)(kàn)(ā)

(I)(to watch)(to complete)(emphasize completion)(this)(MW for movie)(movie) (very)(good)(to watch)(Chinese conversational expression sound)

I finished watching the movie! It was very good!

我吃完了妳做的炒麵,謝謝妳!

(我)(吃)(完)(了)(妳)(做)(的)(炒麵),(謝謝)(妳)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄔ) (ㄨㄢˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄋㄧˇ) (ㄗㄨㄛˋ) (ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄔㄠˇ ㄇㄧㄢˋ) (ㄒㄧㄝˋ ㄒㄧㄝ˙) (ㄋㄧˇ)

(wǒ)(chī)(wán)(le.)(nǐ)(zuò)(de.)(chǎo miàn) (xiè xie.)(nǐ)

(I)(to eat)(to complete)(emphasize completion)(you)(to make)(adjective marker)(fried noodles) (to thank)(you)

I finished eating the fried noodles you made, thank you!

我洗完了車子噢。

(我)(洗)(完)(了)(車子)(噢)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄒㄧˇ) (ㄨㄢˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄔㄜ ㄗ˙) (ㄡ)

(wǒ)(xǐ)(wán)(le.)(chē zi.)(ō)

(I)(to wash)(to complete)(emphasize completion)(car)(conversational expression sound)

I finished washing the car.

The sentence above actually implies a greater amount of washing, suggesting that the car just washed was one of several cars washed. The next very similar sentence is more indicative of having finished washing one car.

我洗好了車子噢。

(我)(洗)(好了)(車子)(噢)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄒㄧˇ) (ㄏㄠˇ ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄔㄜ ㄗ˙) (ㄡ)

(wǒ)(xǐ)(hǎo le.)(chē zi.)(ō)

(I)(to wash)(to complete)(car)(conversational expression sound)

I finished washing the car.

This grammar can be used for verbs when something is made also, but 完成了 ㄨㄢˊ ㄔㄥˊ ㄌㄜ˙ (wán chéng le.) should not be used for actions that did not involve making something.

For finishing things, we might also speak of spending time, so I could say something like,

我花三個星期縫好了我新的衣服。

(我)(花)(三)(個)(星期)(縫)(好了)(我)(新)(的)(衣服)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄏㄨㄚ) (ㄙㄢ) (ㄍㄜ˙) (ㄒㄧㄥ ㄑㄧˊ) (ㄈㄥˊ) (ㄏㄠˇ ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄒㄧㄣ) (ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄧ ㄈㄨˊ)

(wǒ)(huā)(sān)(ge.)(xīng qí)(féng)(hǎo le.)(wǒ)(xīn)(de.)(yī fú)

(I)(to spend)(three)(measure word)(week)(to sew)(to complete)(my)(new)(adjective marker)(clothes)

I spent 3 weeks sewing my new clothes.

我跟我的老四花四個小時逛街,買很多聖誕節禮物。

(我)(跟)(我的)(老四)(花)(四)(個)(小時)(逛街),

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄍㄣ) (ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄌㄠˇ ㄙˋ) (ㄏㄨㄚ) (ㄙˋ) (ㄍㄜ˙) (ㄒㄧㄠˇ ㄕˊ) (ㄍㄨㄤˋ ㄐㄧㄝ)

(wǒ)(gēn)(wǒ de.)(lǎo sì)(huā)(sì)(ge.)(xiǎo shí)(guàng jiē),

(I)(with)(my)(fourth child)(to spend)(four)(measure word)(hour)(window shop)

…..(買)(很)(多)(聖誕節)(禮物)

……(ㄇㄞˇ) (ㄏㄣˇ) (ㄉㄨㄛ) (ㄕㄥˋ ㄉㄢˋ ㄐㄧㄝˊ) (ㄌㄧˇ ㄨˋ)

……(mǎi)(hěn)(duō)(shèng dàn jié)(lǐ wù)

……(to buy)(very)(many)(Christmas)(gift)

I spent four hours window shopping with my fourth child, we bought many Christmas gifts.

After something like that, I would probably say,

現在我要花二十分鐘來喝茶。

(現在)(我)(要)(花)(二十)(分鐘)(來)(喝)(茶)

(ㄒㄧㄢˋ ㄗㄞˋ) (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄧㄠˋ) (ㄏㄨㄚ) (ㄦˋ ㄕˊ) (ㄈㄣ ㄓㄨㄥ) (ㄌㄞˊ) (ㄏㄜ) (ㄔㄚˊ)

(xiàn zài)(wǒ)(yào)(huā)(èr shí)(fēn zhōng)(lái)(hē)(chá)

(now)(I)(to want)(to spend)(two tens = 20)(minute)(to come)(to drink)(tea)

Now I want to spend 20 minutes drinking tea.

No mention of finishing implies doing it in a relaxed manner.

If I am not yet done with my project or activity, I might need to say,

我還沒整理好,明天我希望會整理好了!

(我)(還)(沒)(整理)(好),

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄏㄞˊ) (ㄇㄟˊ) (ㄓㄥˊ ㄌㄧˇ) (ㄏㄠˇ)

(wǒ)(hái)(méi)(zhéng lǐ)(hǎo)

(I)(still)(not)(to tidy up, to arrange)(finish)

…..(明天)(我)(希望)(會)(整理)(好了)

……(ㄇㄧㄥˊ ㄊㄧㄢ) (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄒㄧ ㄨㄤˋ) (ㄏㄨㄟˋ) (ㄓㄥˊ ㄌㄧˇ) (ㄏㄠˇ ㄌㄜ˙)

……(míng tiān)(wǒ)(xī wàng)(huì)(zhéng lǐ)(hǎo le.)

……(tomorrow)(I)(to hope)(will)(to tidy up, to arrange)(complete)

I still have not finished tidying up (organizing), I hope I will finish tomorrow!

我還沒整理完,明天我希望會整理完了!

(我)(還)(沒)(整理)(完),

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄏㄞˊ) (ㄇㄟˊ) (ㄓㄥˊ ㄌㄧˇ) (ㄨㄢˊ)

(wǒ)(hái)(méi)(zhéng lǐ)(wán)

(I)(still)(not)(to tidy up, to arrange)(finish)

…..(明天)(我)(希望)(會)(整理)(完了)

……(ㄇㄧㄥˊ ㄊㄧㄢ) (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄒㄧ ㄨㄤˋ) (ㄏㄨㄟˋ) (ㄓㄥˊ ㄌㄧˇ) (ㄨㄢˊ ㄌㄜ˙)

……(míng tiān)(wǒ)(xī wàng)(huì)(zhéng lǐ)(wán le.)

……(tomorrow)(I)(to hope)(will)(to tidy up, to arrange)(complete)

I still have not finished tidying up (organizing), I hope I will finish tomorrow!

我還沒讀完這本書,可能晚餐以後我會讀完了。

(我)(還)(沒)(讀)(完)(這)(本)(書),

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄏㄞˊ) (ㄇㄟˊ) (ㄉㄨˊ) (ㄨㄢˊ) (ㄓㄜˋ) (ㄅㄣˇ) (ㄕㄨ)

(wǒ)(hái)(méi)(dú)(wán)(zhè)(bĕn)(shū)

(I)(still)(not)(to read)(to complete)(this)(MW for book)(book)

…..(可能)(晚)(餐)(以後)(我)(會)(讀)(完)(了)

……(ㄎㄜˇ ㄋㄥˊ) (ㄨㄢˇ) (ㄘㄢ) (ㄧ ㄏㄡˋ) (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄏㄨㄟˋ) (ㄉㄨˊ) (ㄨㄢˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙)

……(kě néng)(wǎn)(cān)(yī hòu)(wǒ)(huì)(dú)(wán)(le.)

……(perhaps)(evening)(meal)(after)(I)(will)(to read)(to complete)(emphasize completion)

I still haven’t finished reading this book, maybe after dinner I will finish reading it.

But for now I CAN say,

我寫完了這個部落格!

(我)(寫)(完)(了)(這)(個)(部落格)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄒㄧㄝˇ) (ㄨㄢˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄓㄜˋ) (ㄍㄜ˙) (ㄅㄨˋ ㄌㄨㄛˋ ㄍㄜˊ)

(wǒ)(xiě)(wán)(le.)(zhè)(ge.)(bù luò gé)

(I)(to write)(to complete)(emphasize completion)(this)(MW)(blog)

I have finished writing this blog!

我寫好了這個部落格!

(我)(寫)(好了)(這)(個)(部落格)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄒㄧㄝˇ) (ㄏㄠˇ ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄓㄜˋ) (ㄍㄜ˙) (ㄅㄨˋ ㄌㄨㄛˋ ㄍㄜˊ)

(wǒ)(xiě)(hǎo le.)(zhè)(ge.)(bù luò gé)

(I)(to write)(to complete)(this)(MW)(blog)

I have finished writing this blog!

我完成了這個部落格!

(我)(完成)(了)(這)(個)(部落格)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄨㄢˊ ㄔㄥˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄓㄜˋ) (ㄍㄜ˙) (ㄅㄨˋ ㄌㄨㄛˋ ㄍㄜˊ)

(wǒ)(wán chéng)(le.)(zhè)(ge.)(bù luò gé)

(I)(to complete)(emphasize completion)(this)(MW)(blog)

I have finished this blog!


Notes:

❶ This is what is known as a “sound word,” being borrowed from another language (English is this case) and formed from Chinese characters that come close to representing the original sounds according to how Chinese speakers hear sounds.

❷ Sometimes the tone of the second character here, 服 ㄈㄨˊ (fú), is treated more as a neutral tone in Chinese-English dictionaries, but to my ear, it still makes a difference to know that it is a second tone to say it right.

❸ This first time, I am breaking down the translation for 好了 ㄏㄠˇ ㄌㄜ˙ (hǎo le.) more fully and literally, but after this I will just show the translation as “to complete”.

❹ Remember that when you add the adjective marker 的 ㄉㄜ˙ (de.) to a pronoun it makes it possessive.

❺ It takes some practice to remember when to use measure words with numbers and when not to. For instance, when speaking of particular months, measure words are not used, as in 六月 June. However, if you are referring to a total of 6 months you say 六個月。Then there is potential confusion because the (ge.) is not added for every type of “time” unit. In the first of this pair of sentences, it is proper to use the (ge.) after the word 星期 (xīng qí), meaning “week,” to say three weeks, but it is not right to use it after the word 年 (nián), meaning year, to say one year. It does not depend on the number cited, but on the time unit being referred to.

❻ You will notice that the 我 ㄨㄛˇ (wǒ) here is still translated as “my” even though the adjective marker 的 ㄉㄜ˙(de.) does not come until after the final adjective in the list, in this case 新 ㄒㄧㄣ(xīn).

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