Could I say


for "when I was coming home"?


2 Answers 2


If you use the adjectival '的', then it has to be '当我回家的时候' (at the time I come home) - 时候(time/ moment) is a noun

If you don't use the adjectival '的' then you can write '当我回家时' (when I come home) - 时 (when) is an adverb

当我回家的时候 = at the time I come home

当我回家时 = when I come home

当我正在回家的时候 = during the time I was coming home

当我正在回家时 = when I was coming home

  • Is 当 optional in the cases ending in 的时候? Feb 11, 2019 at 4:21
  • @Ben Jackson Yes, '当我回家的时候' = 'at the time I went home' ; '我回家的时候' = 'the time I went home' ; Since we can remove 'at ' in English, we can remove '当' in Chinese without changing the meaning of the sentence. Both 'at' and '当' are already implied
    – Tang Ho
    Feb 11, 2019 at 4:52

当我回家的时候 is OK

You can also do this without an explicit 'when'.

I saw a fox when I was coming home. 我看到一条狐狸,在我回家的路上。

When I was coming home, I saw a fox. 我在回家的路上看到一条狐狸。

I find it is not so easy to move things around in Chinese sentences.

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