Archive for the ‘是…的’ Category

In Chinese, past actions can be discussed with 了 or 过.  Additionally, a third structure may be used.  This is the 是…的 structure.

The 是…的 structure can be used under a special set of circumstances, namely:

A completed past action; where both the speaker and the listener have knowledge of the action to which the speaker refers.

The general structure can be: [subject] + 是 + [predicate]  +  的
 
The main function of  the 是…的 sentence structure is to highlight and emphasise the: time, manner, purpose or place of a past action.   To illustrate,

我是昨天回来的。

The above sentence highlights the time of the action (yesterday)

我是坐飞机回来的。

The above sentence emphasises the method of transport (by air)

我是回来看你的。

The above sentence draws attention to the aim of the action (in order to see you)

我是从学校回来的。

The above sentence stresses the place of departure (from school)

From these examples, we notice that the 是…的 structure doesn’t concern itself with the completed action.  Instead, it highlights aspects which have a connection to the performance of the action.

In addition, most of the time 是 can be omitted from the structure, whereas 的 cannot.  For instance,

他是昨天回来的。(Correct) 
他昨天回来的。(Correct)
他是昨天回来。(Incorrect)

Michael and Jing

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