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I'm trying to remember what is the proper way to use time. Do we ever add 在 before a year when writing? Or do we generally not add it? Here's an example sentence that I wrote. Would you add 在?

在2006年, 当刘强东正在寻求资金时, 中国的物流系统非常糟糕。

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    Either is grammatical (but in your case, omitting 在 can avoid the repetition of this character as "正在" is nearby – it would sound slightly better to some ears). And ... if you use Chinese punctuation, you shouldn't put a space after it because the space is already considered/contained in the punctuation (if the font is well designed). 2006年,当刘强东正在寻求资金时,中国的物流系统非常糟糕。 is perfect.
    – Stan
    May 3 '16 at 12:54
  • this can be checked by feeding "在2000年" to jukuu e.g., there find 100 examples (the max number)
    – user6065
    May 3 '16 at 13:52
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You sentence is correct with or without the 在. Using 在 will put a bit more emphasis on the year, while leaving off 在 will put a bit more emphasis on the action. Also, if you're listing years, you would not use 在:

2006年,中国的物流系统非常糟糕。2008年,仍然糟糕

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