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Level 1 Lesson 16.1 – What Are You Going To Do On Sunday

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Time Words in Chinese: Position in a Sentence and As Modifier of Noun

In this video lesson we'll learn a few sets of Time Words in Chinese, and focus on where to put a Time Word in Chinese sentences.

  • Time Words in Chinese (III). See also (I) and (II).
  • Where to put a Time Word in Chinese Sentences
  • Time Words as Modifier of Noun (Phrase)

VOCABULARY


GRAMMAR


Grammar 1: Time Words in Chinese · HSK 1

We have learned some Time Words before:

Today we'll learn more Time Words in Chinese:

Days

YESTERDAY TODAY TOMORROW
昨天
zuótiān
今天
jīntiān
明天
míngtiān

 

Year

LAST YEAR THIS YEAR NEXT YEAR
去年
qùnián
今年
jīnnián
明年
míngnián

 

Month

LAST MONTH THIS MONTH NEXT MONTH
上个月
shàngge yuè
这个月
zhège yuè
下个月
xiàge yuè

 

Week

LAST WEEK THIS WEEK NEXT WEEK
上个星期
shàngge xīngqī
这个星期
zhège xīngqī
下个星期
xiàge xīngqī
上周
shàngzhōu
这周
zhèzhōu
下周
xiàzhōu

 

 

Grammar 2: Where to put a Time Word in Chinese Sentences · HSK 1

When we put a Time Word in a sentence, the Time Word can give us information about when the action takes place, or when a status persists.

In English the Time Word usually goes at the beginning or at the end of a sentence, but in Chinese it's different, we never put a Time Word at the end of a sentence. For example these are sentences with the wrong placement of Time Words in Chinese:

  • wǒmen qù Běijīng lǚyóu míngnián
    我们去北京旅游明年
    we (will) go to Beijing to travel next year

So where to put a Time Word in Chinese sentences? We usually put a Time Word after the Subject and before the Predicate, which could be a verb(phrase) or an adjective (phrase):

Subject + Time Word  + Predicate (+ Object)

These are some typical sentences with Time Words in Chinese:

  • wǒmen míngnián qù Běijīng lǚyóu
    我们明年去北京旅游。
    we (will) go to Beijing to travel next year
  • tā péngyou zuótiān hěn bùgāoxìng
    他朋友昨天很不高兴。
    his friend was very unhappy yesterday
  • nǐ xiàge xīngqīwǔ gěiwǒ dǎdiànhuà, hǎoma
    下个星期五给我打电话,好吗?
    you give me  a call next Friday, okay?
  • Xiè Lǎoshī shànggeyuè búzài Fǎguó
    谢老师上个月不在法国。
    Teacher Xie was not in France last month

 

Grammar 3: Time Words as Modifier of Noun (Phrase) · HSK 1

Remember we learned that sometimes a Noun can be used as a modifier of another Noun? For example:

  • Hànyǔ shū 汉语书 Chinese language + book / Chinese book
  • Zhōngguó cài 中国菜 China + dish / Chinese food

Since Time Words are also nouns, they can be put before another noun (phrase) to function as a modifier by using the Descriptive Particle 的 between them:

Time Word  +  + Noun (Phrase)

For example:

  • shàngzhōu rì de diànhuà
    上周日的电话
    last Sunday's phone call
  • míngnián de Hànyǔkè
    明年的汉语课
    next year's Chinese classes

 

Grammar 4: More Than One Time Words Together · HSK 1

When there are more than one Time Words together, the "bigger" ones go before the "smaller" one - the same rule as words that refer to places, the "bigger" places go before the "smaller" places. For example:

  • xiàgeyuè wǔhào wǎnshàng bādiǎn
    下个月五号晚上八点
    next month the 5th, evening 8 o'clock
  • míngnián jiǔyuè yīrì
    明年九月一日
    next year September 1
  • shàngzhōusì zǎoshàng qīdiǎn 'èrshí fēn
    上周四早上七点二十分
    last Thursday 7:20 am
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