City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Feb 2 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (17,790 points) | 7 views

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A time phrase (indicating when an action takes/took place) can appear at the beginning of the sentence or before the verbal phrase although the connotations might be slightly different.

几点 (jǐ diǎn ‘what time’) is an exception; it is unusual for 几点 to appear at the beginning of the sentence.

昨天晚上小明在家写信。(= 小明昨天晚上在家写信。)

Zuó tiān wǎn shàng xiǎo míng zài jiā xiě xìn 。(= xiǎo míng zuó tiān wǎn shàng zài jiā xiě xìn 。)

Xiaoming was writing letters at home yesterday evening.

(Incorrect: 小明在家昨天晚上写信。(在家写信 is the verbal phrase.))

你几点要去上课? (Unusual: 几点你要去上课?)

Nǐ jǐ diǎn yào qù shàng kè ? (Unusual: Jǐ diǎn nǐ yào qù shàng kè ?)\

What time are you going to class?

[1] Yip, P. C., Rimmington, D., Xiaoming, Z., & Henson, R. (2009). Basic Chinese: a grammar and workbook. Taylor & Francis.

[2] Teng, W. H. (2016). Yufa! A practical guide to Mandarin Chinese grammar. Taylor & Francis.

answered Feb 2 by Ariel (17,790 points)

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