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,


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


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


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


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,


Michael and Jing