1. Time Measure Words Time measure words are used to indicate the point of time when an action takes place, or the duration of time in which an action happens. The position of time measure words, however, are different in different situations. (1.) When time measure words indicate the point of time, they are placed before the verb, or before the first verb in sentences where there are series of verbs. The structure should be: S + point of time + V + (O) or S + point of time + V1 + O1 + V2 + O2 For example: 1.)小丁和学友的飞机上午十点五十分起飞。 Xiaoding and Xueyou's plane will take off at 10:50am. 2.)她的男朋友今天晚上九点会来她的宿舍看她。 Her boyfriend will come to her dorm and see her at 9:00pm tonight. (2.) When time measure words indicate the duration of time, they function as a complement and are placed after the verb. --For sentences without objects, the structure should be: S + V + duration of time For example: 1.) 从纽约到北京， 飞机要飞十多个小时。 From New York to Beijing, the plane will fly for over ten hours. 2.) 从机场到北京大学，汽车开了一个半小时。 From the airport to Beijing University, the car drove for one and a half hours. --For sentences with an object, the structure should be (note that the first repetition of the verb is often optional in this pattern): S + (V) + O + V + duration of time For example: 1.) 小丁要学中文学两年。 Xiaoding will study Chinese for two years. 2.) 小丁和学友坐飞机坐了十七个小时。 或者(huo4zhe3: or) 小丁和学友飞机坐了十七个小时。 Xiaoding and Xueyou were on the plane for seventeen hours. Sometimes, the object can also be preposed in this kind of sentence and there is no need to repeat the verb. The structure should be: O + S + V + duration of time For example: 1.) 中文小丁要学两年。 Chinese, Xiaoding will study for two years. 2.) 飞机小丁和学友坐了十七个小时。 The plane, Xiaoding and Xueyou were on for seventeen hours. --As can be observed in the above examples, verbs in sentences with time measure words indicating duration can take different aspects. The following are structures and examples of the use of time complements (that is, time measure words that indicate the duration of time)in combination with the perfective aspect used to refer to the past, the present, and the future aspects of action. a. The perfective in reference to the past. The structure should be: S + (V) + O + V + 了 + duration of time or O + S + V + 了 + duration of time For example: 1.) 今天世海学中文学了一个半小时。 或者(huo4zhe3: or) 今天世海中文学了一个半小时。 Today Shihai has studied Chinese for one and a half hours. 2.) 中文世海学了一个半小时。 Chinese, Shihai has studied for one and a half hours. b. The perfective in reference to the present. The structure should be: S + V + O + V + duration of time or O + S + V + duration of time For example: 1.)世海每天学中文学一个半小时。 Every day Shihai studies Chinese for one and a half hours. 2.)中文世海每天学一个半小时。 Chinese, Shihai studies for one and a half hours every day. C. The perfective in reference to the future. The structure should be: S + 要/会 + V + O + V + duration of time or O + S + 要/会 + V + duration of time 1.)世海明天要/会学中文学一个半小时。 Tomorrow Shihai will study Chinese for one and a half hours. 2.)中文世海明天要/会学一个半小时。 Chinese, Shihai will study for one and a half hours tomorrow. (3.) Using the 的 structure to indicate the point of time or the duration of time in a sentence. This pattern allows the object to be placed after the verb and time phrase. The structure should be: S + V + point of time/duration of time + 的 + O The "point of time/duration of time + 的" structure can be seen as a structure that modifies the object of a sentence. For example: 1.)小丁和学友坐上午十点五十分的飞机。 Xiaoding and Xueyou took/will take the 10:50am plane. 2.)世海每天下午上三点半的中文课。 Shihai goes to the 3:30pm Chinese class every day. 3.)小丁和学友坐了十七个小时的飞机。 Xiaoding and Xueyou had a seventeen hour flight. 4.)世海每天学一个半小时的中文。 Shihai studies one and a half hours of Chinese every day. (4.) Asking questions about the point of time or duration of time. a. When asking questions about the point of time, the question word is "几点" or "什麽时候" which are place where the time word normally goes in the sentence. For example: 1.)小丁和学友的飞机什麽时候起飞？ When is Xiaoding and Xueyou's plane going to take off? 2.)他们几点到北京大学？ At what time did they arrive in Beijing University? 3.)世海每天上几点的中文课？ At what time does Shihai have his Chinese class? b. When asking questions about the duration of time, the question word is "多久" or "多长时间" which are place where the time complement normally goes in the sentence. For example: 1.)从机场到北京大学，汽车开了多久？ From the airport to Beijing University, for how long did the car drive? 2.)小丁学中文学了多长时间？ For how long has Xiaoding studied Chinese? 3.)小丁和学友坐了多长时间的飞机？ How long were Xiaoding and Xueyou on the plane? 2. The Approximate Number Indicators--"几" and "多" "几" and "多" are two approximate number indicators in Chinese that appear with measure words in counting. However, the positions and the meaning implications of these two characters are different. (1.)When 几 is used by itself, it refers to an approximate number that is less than ten. For example: 1.)甲：你有几本中文书？ 乙：我有五本中文书。 A: How many Chines books do you have? B: I have five Chinese books. 2.)今天晚上我要和几个老朋友一起吃晚饭。 Tonight I am going to have dinner with some (less than ten) old friends. When 几 is combined with number words such as 十，百，千，万, it can be placed either before the number words, or after the number words. The approximate number it refers to, however, is different when it is placed in different positions. a. When 几 is placed before the number words, for example: Phrase Range of number 几十 10-90 几百 100-900 几千 1,000-9,000 几万 10,000-90,000 b. When 几 is placed after the number words, it is placed after "十" or "零". It cannot be placed right after "百","千","万". For example: Phrase Range of number 十几 11-19 二十几 21-29 三十几 31-39 . . . . . . 一百零几 101-109 一百一十几 111-119 一百二十几 121-129 (2.) When 多 is used to ask questions about numbers, the phrase "多少" is used to ask about approximate numbers that are expected to be more than ten. For example: 1.)甲：你的大学有多少学生？ 乙：我的大学有三万个学生。 A: How many students does you univeristy have? B: My university has 30,000 students. 2.)甲：你们学校的东亚图书馆有多少本中文书？ 乙：有五万本中文书。 A: How many Chinese books does the East Asian Library in your university have? B: (It) has 50,000 Chinese books. a. 多 can never be placed right before number words such as 十，百，千， 万. b. 多 can be placed after number words such as 十，百，千，万，and it is always followed by measure words. Phrase Range of number 十多(个) 11-19 二十多(个) 21-29 三十多(个) 31-39 . . . . . . 一百多(个) 101-109 一百一十多(个) 111-119 一百二十多(个) 121-129 二百多(个) 201-299 三千多(个) 3，001-3，999 四万多(个) 40，001-49，999 (3.) The use of the approximate number indicators "几" and "多" with the four major time units (TU) "年"，"月"，"星期" and "天/日". a. When 几 is combined with the four major time units "年"， "月"，"星期" and "天/日" number + TU 几 + TU 几 + number + TU number(十) + 几 + TU 一年 几年 几十年 十几年 一个*月 几个月 几十个月 二十几个月 一个*星期 几个星期 几十个星期 三十几个星期 一天 几天 几百天 一百一十几天 *Note: 年 and 天 are measure words, whereas 月 and 星期 are nouns taking 个 as their measure word. b. When 多 is combined with the four major time units "年"， "月"，"星期" and "天/日" number "一" numbers no more than 10 numbers more than 10 (in units of 10) number + TU number + TU + 多 number + 多 + TU /number + measure + 多 + TU /number + 多 + measure + TU 一年 五年多 十多年 一个月 六个多月 二十多个月 一个星期 三个多星期 一百多个星期 一天 十天多 一千多天 3. The Ordinal Number 第 "第 + numeral + measure word" is used to form ordinal expressions. For example: 1.)这是我第一次回中国。 This is my first time to return to China. 2.)今天王老师教了第三十一课。 Today Teacher Wang taught Lesson 31. 3.)母亲节是每年五月的第二个星期天。 Mother's day is the second Sunday of May in every year. 4. The Structure 从...到... The structure 从...到... means "from...to...". It is used to indicate a period of time (from one time to another time), or to indicate a distance (from one place to another place). For example: (1.) 从 + time + 到 + time 1.)从一九九四年到一九九八年，他在北京大学的计算机系学了四年。 From 1994 to 1998, he studied in the Computer Science Department of Beijing University for four years. 2.)从晚上八点到十一点，我看了三个小时的中文。 From 8:00pm to 11:00pm, I read Chinese for three hours. (2.) 从 + place + 到 +place 1.)从上海到北京，飞机飞了一个小时。 From Shanghai to Beijing, the plane flew for a hour. 2.)从宿舍到学生活动中心，小丁走了十分钟。 From the dorm to the student activity center, Xiaoding walked for ten minutes. 5. The Structure 当...的时候 The structure "当...的时候" functions as a time clause. The usage of this structure is similar to the time clause headed by "when" in English. However, as the "when" clause can be placed either at the beginning of a sentence or at the end of a sentence, the structure "当...的时候" can only be placed at the beginning of a sentence. Usually, 当 is left out and the structure simply becomes "...的时候". For example: 1.)当学友和小丁走进海关大厅的时候，他们都非常惊讶。 When Xueyou and Xiaoding walked into the Customs Hall, they were very surprised. 2.)学友和小丁到学校的时候，已经是晚上八点多了。 When Xueyou and Xiaoding arrived at the school, it was already over 8:00pm.