Quantcast

Lesson 30 How to describe the beginning of a period of time in Chinese?

Posted by Grace Feng on February 7, 2013

Lesson 30 How to describe the beginning of a period of time in Chinese?This Learn Chinese Online lesson will help you understand how to describe the beginning of a time span in Chinese. For example:

Since he was seven years old, he started to go to school on his own.

Before we look at the Chinese way of saying it, please review the following new words first. Please use the estroke tool under the new word table to practice your writing.

Simplified Chinese Traditional Chinese Mandarin Pinyin English Definition
自从 自從 zi4 cong2 since (a time); ever since;
七岁 七歲 qi1 sui4 seven years old
开始 開始 kai1 shi3 to begin; to start
da2 hit; since
再也 再也 zai4 ye3 (not) any more
出现 出現 chu1 xian4 to appear; to show up
真的 真的 zhen1 really; indeed
以后 以後 yi3 hou4 afterwards; later on
ma4 to scold; to abuse
  • You can copy and paste a few characters together into the box. They’ll show in the animation window one by one.
  • Once the stroke animation stops, click in the animation window and hit ENTER to replay it.
  • You can use the sliding bar to control writing speed of the animation.

Are you done? Yes? Good.

Now, we can start by using the direct translation of the word “since” in Chinese: “自从”. Then the whole sentence can be translated into this:

自从他七岁,开始自己上学了。

zìcóng tā qī suì, kāishǐ zìjǐ shàngxué le。

The above sentence can be understood by Chinese. However, the word flow is not quite comfortable. It will be more smooth if we convert the above sentence into the following sentence pattern :

自从。。。开始, 就 。。。

zìcóng。。。 kāishǐ, jiù 。。。

 

Like this:

 

自从他七岁开始自己上学了。

zìcóng tā qī suì kāishǐ, jiù zìjǐ shàngxué le。

 

Now the sentence is getting smoother and much more comfortable. “自从” can also be shortened to “” or ““. Therefore, the following two sentences are good too:

 

他七岁开始自己上学了。

zì tā qī suì kāishǐ, jiù zìjǐ shàngxué le。

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

他七岁开始自己上学了。

cóng tā qī suì kāishǐ, jiù zìjǐ shàngxué le。

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

You can also use another sentence pattern to express “since”, this one is mostly used in spoken mandarin:

 

打。。。开始, 就 。。。

dǎ。。。 kāishǐ, jiù 。。。

 

Let’s fit our example into this pattern:

 

他七岁开始自己上学了。

dǎ tā qī suì kāishǐ, jiù zìjǐ shàngxué le。

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

You might have noticed that there is a “” appears in all above examples at the beginning of the second clause. You can review the usage of “就” in Lesson 16 The usage of Chinese character “就”.

The function of “” here is as a conjunction to connect the two clauses. It can be replaced by other words as long as the other words could connect the two clauses similarly as “就”. For example,

他七岁开始已经自己上学了。

dǎ tā qī suì kāishǐ, yǐjīng zìjǐ shàngxué le。

 

“打。。。开始,。。。” and “自从。。。开始。。。” can also be written like this:

打。。。起,。。。   dǎ。。。 qǐ,。。。

自打。。。起,。。。  zìdǎ。。。 qǐ,。。。

 

If you just want to say “since then….“, then there are a few phrases you can choose from to express just that:

 

从那以后。。。  cóng nà yǐhòu。。。 

自那以后。。。  zì nà yǐhòu。。。

打那以后。。。  dǎ nà yǐhòu。。。

 

Are you clear now? Before we finish, let’s look at three examples that express “since then …“:

 

从那以后, 她再也没有出现。

cóng nà yǐhòu, tā zàiyě méiyǒu chūxiàn。

Since then, she had never appeared.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

自那以后, 他真的爱上了她。

zì nà yǐhòu, tā jiù zhēn de àishàng le tā。

Since then, he had fallen in love with her.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

打那以后, 妈妈没有再骂过他。

dǎ nà yǐhòu, māma méiyǒu zài mà guò tā。

Since then, his Mom never scolded him anymore.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Now it’s time for a good rest! Good night, my friends! :-)

 

Related posts:

Lesson 4 How to ask questions in Chinese (1)
Reading, Listening and Speaking practice 12
Reading, Listening and Speaking practice 19

 

Category: JLC Chinese grammar lessons

Tags: , , , ,

Top

You can share this post here:
Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusCheck Our Feed

Leave Reply



Copyright © 2016 Just Learn Chinese