1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

时候 / 时间 / 时 / 时期

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by Mauro86, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Mauro86 Senior Member

    Hi to you all!

    Take this sentence:

    我刚来中国( ), 没有一个中国朋友。

    Between ( ) I have to feel one of these words:




    Everyone means "time", but, I suppose, in a different way. Can anyone explain me, please??? ;)
  2. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    Hi Mauro,
    Where did you get the sentence from? Is it part of a lannguage execise or did you make it up for yourself?
    We may be able to help you a with your question but we normally ask you to try first, so that we'll have a better idea what kind of help is more appropriate for you. Tell us what you think about the 4 choices there.
  3. Mauro86 Senior Member

    The sentence is from an exercise. It is a single sentence, not a part of a discourse. I know everyone means "time", but I don't know exactly the main differences... :(
  4. tarlou Senior Member

    The correct answer is “时”.

    The first choice is also close, but you have to add 的: 我刚来中国的时候.

    I don't know how to explain this tricky thing, probably other people or a language teacher can do better.
  5. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    我刚来中国__,没有一个中国朋友 "When I first came to China, I didn't have any Chinese friend."

    时候 "the time when" ==> The time when I first came to China, I didn't have any Chinese friend.
    时间 "time" ==> Time I first came to China, I didn't have any Chinese friend.
    时 "when" ==> When I first came to China, I didn't have any Chinese friend.
    时期 "the period when" ==> The period when I first came to China, I didn't have any Chinese friend.

    Tarlou correctly pointed out that adding 的 before 时候 will work. It is like adding "at" before "the time when" will make an acceptable adverbial clause: "At the time when I first....".
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  6. tarlou Senior Member

    I've got a time to try to explain this now.

    This seems not a good explanation for learners. 的 does not mean "at"; it actually serves as a very different part of the sentence.

    The correct sentences:
    1. (在)我刚来中国的时候,……
    2. (在)我刚来中国时,……
    时 and 时候 are both correct in terms of meaning.
    在我刚来中国时候 = At I first came to China time. That does not make sense at all.
    在我刚来中国的时候 = At (I first came to China)'s time = At the time of (I first came to China). That makes sense at least logically, though the literal translation is awkward.
    In Chinese we don't really care about prepositions in this case, so 在 (=at) can be omitted.

    Then why there isn't a 的 in the second sentence?
    In ancient Chinese, every word has exactly one character. However, in modern Chinese words can have either one (like 时, the old word is still used) or multiple characters (like 时候, where both 时 and 候 means time). When we use the old word 时, the old style (or grammar) should also be used. In old Chinese we don't use 的 at all, there is another word has the same function but can often be omitted.

    2. Wrong words:

    时间 is a very general word for "time". I don't really know how to explain its meaning but can provide some examples.
    时间、地点、人物 (When, where, who)
    《时间简史》 (A brief history of time)
    给你一段时间 (give you some time)
    合理安排时间 (manage one's time appropriately)
    飞机到达中国的时间是2013年1月1日上午10点. (But don't use 时间 in a question especially when the time is not so accurate 你什么时到中国的?三年前。)

    时期 means a (long) period. 春秋战国时期,…… During the period of 春秋战国,.... (春秋战国 is a period lasted for several hundred years in Chinese history).
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  7. Mauro86 Senior Member

    Great explanations!!!!!!! Thank you very much, guys!!! :D
  8. alejandro123 Junior Member

    please correct me if I'm wrong. we also can say: 春节这段时间,在春节的时候,春节期间(我们家一年中团聚一次。)and in all the cases the meaning holds the same.
  9. Lucia_zwl

    Lucia_zwl Senior Member

    If you wanna emphasise 一次, I would add 只有…才…
    I would also change the location of the time indicator in this sentence:
    You can replace the underlined part with 春节的时候,春节期间:)

Share This Page