Chinese grammar: experiences with 过guo

When we study Chinese, we are confused between 过guo and 了le. The aspect particle 过 (guo) is used to indicate that an action has been experienced in the past.

Basic Pattern

Chinese grammar: experiences with 过guo

What this expresses is that the verb has been done at least once before, without specifying a particular time. 过 is used to talk about whether something has ever happened – whether it has been experienced.


Some examples of how 过 is typically used:

我 去 过 中国。I have been to China.
你 看 过 那 个 人 吗?Have you seen that person?

Negating a 过 sentence

Because 过 is used to talk about past actions, it should be negated with 没. The structure is:

我 没 去 过 中国。I have not been to China.

Using 过 with 了

You’ll sometimes see 过 used together with 了. This can be a little confusing, as it doesn’t seeing to be following the rules laid out above. For more on this special usage of 过, see the article on using 过 with 了.

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