I'm having trouble with one part of this answer from Tang Ho relating to the story Writing critique request: Zhou Ziwang was fat when she was young:

我爸忙时就让我吃, --> (每当)我爸忙(的)时(侯)(他)就让我吃,
When my father was busy, he would let me eat ...

(On the left is my writing, and on the right is Tang Ho's suggestions/corrections. The mental image I have is a father busy working on a computer, ignoring his daughter and distracting her with junk food.)

In my writing, I was trying to be succinct. I certainly feel like adding 每当 is an improvement (it's a new word for me) and conveys the idea that it happens repeatedly. But maybe the other additions are unnecessary (?); I've seen these things omitted in writing previously.

Question: How do we trade-off succinctness for accuracy in 每当我爸忙的时侯他就让我吃?

  • I wouldn't critique your original as it sounded okay to me.
    – sylvia
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 18:33

2 Answers 2


There's nothing wrong with "每当我爸忙时就让我吃" I replaced "忙时" with "忙的时侯" because it is how modern colloquial Chinese would phrase it.

The pronoun(他) in "我爸忙时(他)就让我吃" is not necessary because we know the subject is "我爸" from the context


我爸忙时(他)就让我吃 is a correct translation for When my father was busy, he would let me eat ....

But I guess your intended meaning is probably: When my father was busy, he would not forbid me from eating ..., 我爸忙时(他)就不管我吃东西

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