(le) + durational complement + (le)

Stating how long the object has been being dealt with as a result of the action or how long one anticipates it will be being dealt with.


13.1 Tāmen zhi ge wnt ynjiū-le nin duō.  


They studied this problem for over five years.


13.2 yǐjīng ru kǎo-le fēnzhōng le. Zi kǎo ji gāi kǎoh le. 


I have grilled the meat for five minutes so far. If I continue, I will burn it.


13.3 shuǐ r fēnzhōng. 


Heat the water for five minutes.


13.4 mintio zhǔ-le y huǐr, rnhu ci wng fng ci. 


I boiled the noodles for a little while before putting vegetables in it.


Note: Only verbs that imply certain forms of processing, such as shāo(to heat), kǎo(to bake/to roast), r(to heat). zhǔ(to boil), lěngqu 冷却(to cool off), can take a durational complement in sentences. This is why the following example is ungrammatical.


13A. shū kn-le sān ge xiǎosh. (Ungrammatical)


(I read the book for three hours.)

If the speaker intends to state how long the action knreading lasted, the construction should not be used.


13B. kn shū kn-le sān g xiǎosh. (Grammatical) 


I read the book for three hours.