There are numerous uses of 了 in Mandarin Chinese. And they’re often hard to interpret, let alone use! In this article, I will focus on five uses of 了 to express some sort of emphasis, which are not related to the past tense that 了 is commonly associated with.
These uses of 了 can catch beginners off guard: “Why the heck is there a 了 there?“ “Do I really need a 了 here?”. I will analyze the instances where 了 is used in expressions for emphasis and hopefully you can also observe the common theme.