04 June, 2015

"Cherry Picking" Joke (With Grammar Notes)

chinese joke with 时候

yīng táo shén me shí hòu zhāi zuì shì hé a 
When is best time to pick cherries? 

méi rén de shíhòu... 
When there is nobody around… 

Grammar Points

1. 什么时候 – at what time, when 
As was already mentioned in the Question Words in Chinese article, in Chinese sentences “when” is generally placed between the subject and the predicate: 
她什么时候结婚了? – tā shén me shí hòu jié hūn le – When did she get married? 
你什么时候来了? – nǐ shén me shí hòu lái le – When did you come? 
火车什么时候到了? – huǒ chē shén me shí hòu dào le – When does the train arrive? 

2. If you need to specify the time when something happens, 的时候 (de shí hou) is often used. 
The pattern is as follows: 
Subject + Verb + 的时候 
In this case 的时候 means that two conscious actions happen. 

xiǎo de shí hòu wǒ xǐ huān chī táng 
When I was little, I liked to eat candies. 

去散步的时候, 看见一只小狗。
qù sàn bù de shí hòu kàn jiàn yī zhǐ xiǎo gǒu 
When I was going for a walk, I saw a puppy. 

NOTE: When talking about completed actions in the past, it is better to use 以后 instead of 的时候.

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