In English a phrase such as “Call me when you get home” can be reversed into “When you get home, call me.”

Is this also possible in Chinese?

I tried to answer the question myself, but I could only think of myself using the dependent clause first and never using it second in Chinese class.

Also, all the examples on AllSet Learning have the dependent clause in the beginning, but the site doesn’t specifically condemn the reverse.

Is it grammatically acceptable in Chinese?

  • You are better off giving a specific example of Chinese sentence. There isn't a consolidated rule for that.
    – dan
    Jul 30, 2018 at 7:09
  • "when you come home" in Chinese can be 回家的时候 which usually would come before 请你给我电话,see any E-C dictionary on "when"
    – user6065
    Jul 30, 2018 at 7:11
  • for how to translate search web using e.g. 英文语法 relative clauses, relative pronouns, Relative clauses are often introduced by a relative pronoun (usually who, which, that, but when, where and whose are also possible)
    – user6065
    Jul 30, 2018 at 13:34

2 Answers 2


It is not accepted in writing Chinese, however, you can say that in oral Chinese, like


The second part of the sentence is served as a complementary clarification and even though, it is not commonly used.

If you write it that way, it is not grammatically acceptable.


In Mandarin, relative (your "dependent") clauses always precede the noun they modify (and there are no really "relative pronouns" in Info-European sense).

The basic word order is subject–verb–object (SVO). Otherwise, Chinese is chiefly a head-last language, meaning that modifiers precede the words they modify – in a noun phrase, for example, the head noun comes last, and all modifiers, including relative clauses, come in front of it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_grammar#Relative_clauses https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relative_clause#Mandarin

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