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I was using a text editor in Chinese, when I tried to exit without saving the currently opened file it showed me this sentence:


What is the role of 在 here? Is it related to the usage of (some event)前? Or can be omitted without altering the sentence meaning?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

It is part of the construction:

'before....' (used as a conjunction).

Here it means 'Before you close the file, do you want to save it?' The 在 effectively indicates a point in time, i.e., 'at' a particular time. (Literally translated into English, this would become 'at [the time] before you close the file').

This is typical of constructions like:





This tends to be a written usage and is omitted in conversation (and often in writing).

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