Mandarin - Kicking through Time

An alternative, wordier title is learning how indicate when a verb took place. I would say conjugate, but the verb itself hardly changes. I find using ridiculous examples as more useful for learning, and holding things in memory. For example: wǒ yǒu hó (which all rhymes) means "I have monkey." Now you know those three words. Congrats.*

More O' These
Learning to Kick Through TIME

Let's start with the basics here, shall we?  is the verb "to kick." It's short, it sounds like the hot beverage that Chinese people drink a lot of, and they can collectively kick you to the ground. When talking about time, and general modification of the verb, I'm going to show both time and a little bit of desire/necessity. Let's begin!

Wǒ Tī 
[woah, tea!]
This is the general form of it. Literally what you're declaring is "I kick!" as in, "Something I generally do with my time is performing kicks!" Yes, it is a strange thing to say out of context. Imagine someone's shouting "We need a professional kicker to defeat this enemy that is only vulnerable to kicks! Who can help us?!" and you'd yell "Wǒ kěyǐ! Wǒ tī!" Once more in english: "I Can! I Kick!"

Wǒ Zài Tī
[woah zai tea]
When saying you're doing something in the moment, you use the word zài in front of the verb. Again, the verb doesn't change, you just add words around it to dictate context. Someone says "What the hell are you doing?!" as you cause wreckage through the pumpkin patch. "Wǒ zài tī" you respond with a steely stare, continuing without breaking your soul-stealing gaze.

Wǒ Zhèng Zài Tī
[Woah, jung zai tea]
This is basically the same as the last one, but with emphasis. Ever had your mom yell at you to get you to do a chore that you're currently performing? You would yell back "I am cutting hte grass!" The zhèng is just an emphasis that the action is currently being performed, not much else. It's also more formal.
Loosely-related Chinese Zodiac
Wǒ Tīle
[woah tea..le]
"What the hell did you just do outside?" "I kicked." This is for when something was just completed, not in the distant past. If you're asking what you did yesterday, you wouldn't use tīle. You'll notice that the verb has hardly changed here, only adding -le on the end. This works for all of the verbs I've come across so far to indicate that you just finished whatever it was you were doing. Careful with the verb zuò which is "to do," as it can indicate something sexual. I have created several awkward situations by saying this.

Wǒ Tī Gùo
[woah, tea, goo..oh]
Adding gùo after a verb is to indicate that you have completed this action at some point in the past. It's a more general thing. If someone were to say "Have you ever kicked before?" you would be all "I have kicked before, duh" or "Wǒ tī gùo, duh." Note that they don't actually use the word "duh."

Wǒ Jiāng Yào Tī

[Woah, gee-ang. Yow, Tea!]
Turning away from our past, let's look to the future: I will kick. You might use this sentence if someone were to ask you "What will you be doing later?" "I will be kicking" or wǒ jiāng yào tī. Jiāng means "will" as in "I will do that." Ignore the yào that follows, as I believe it is a more correct way of simply saying jiāng. But by itself, yào means..

Wǒ (Xǐang) Yào Tī
[Woah she-ang! Yow, Tea!]
I want to kick. This can mean a general desire to kick, but can also be the opposite of adding -le on the end. Adding -le means immediate past, while yào means immediate future. For those of us who speak french, it's like saying "je vais coup de pied" as in "I'm going to do it now." You probably wonder why the xǐang is there - this makes it more polite. Saying yào vs xǐang yào is the difference between "I want" vs "I would like" - it's just a matter of politeness.

Wǒ Bìxū Tī
[Woah, bee shoe tea!]
Let's touch on desire. This one means I must kick. Yeah, you'd be a bit of a weirdo. Maybe you're obsessive compulsive about kicking and right now is a time you feel that need. If that's the case, go right ahead and say wǒ bìxū tī. Shout it out! In case it wasn't clear, bìxū means "must" and is placed in the same order as English.

Art hung in the basement of the Princess Twin Cinema (Waterloo)
Wǒ Yīnggāi Tī
[Woah ying-guy tea]
Imagine there's total chaos breaking loose around you. People are screaming, you see a man stand on a table and rip off his shirt, and the only things you can ask yourself is "What should I do here? What is my duty?" then it dawns upon you: Wǒ. Yīnggāi. Tī. [I. Should. Kick.]


I kick (general) - wǒ tī
I am kicking (current) - wǒ zài tī
I AM kicking! (current, emphasis) - wǒ zhèng zài tī
I kicked (immediate past) - wǒ tīle
I have Kicked (general past) - wǒ tī gùo
I will kick - wǒ jiāng yào tī
I would like to kick - wǒ xǐang yào tī
I want to kick - wǒ yào tī
I must kick - wǒ bìxū tī
I should kick - wǒ yīnggāi tī

*wǒ yǒu yī gē hó is the proper grammar sentence, indicating that there is only one () monkey. The word is the counting word for most animals and people.

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