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From the HSK6 Standard Course (下册, page 23; photo of original):

比如心脏病,病人发病常常是有预兆的,如果对患者的心跳数据有足够长时间的持续积累,就可能预测病人发病的时机;对于心脏病突发致死的案例,如果能提前24小时监测到零星先兆,甚至可以挽救患者的生命。

I believe the grammar of the clause I highlighted has the form:

……,就可能预测(病人发病)的时机;……

where 病人发病 is an attributive for 时机, and the target of the verb 预测 is 时机. I'm uncomfortable with using 时机 like this because its defined as:

时机(名):在某一时间才有的有利条件。

Which makes me feel there are two problems with the given sentence: (a) 时机 isn't equivalent to, say, 时候, and (b) 时机 seems to be a 褒义词 (a word with positive connotations), so it doesn't make sense to say 病人发病的时机.

I'm tempted to change it to either

……,就可能(预测病人发病)的时机;……

so as to make 预测病人发病 the attributive for 时机 (and 预测病人发病 is a positive thing, as you have time to take preventative action) and 时机 as the target for the verb 有, or

……,就可能预测(病人发病)的时候;……

Either way it solves both issues I've raised.

However, it is also possible that 时机 has more meanings that the one I looked up.

Question: How is 时机 being used in 就可能预测病人发病的时机?

5 Answers 5

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Quote:- "However, it is also possible that 时机 has more meanings that the one I looked up"

Question: "How is 时机 being used in 就可能预测病人发病的时机?"

First off, I see no problem or incorrect usage of 时机 in the context of the sentence.

Second, all predictions are about some occurrences of "events" at a future time, and not predictions of "Time" per se, (which by definition has a fixed, predictable rate of progression, (putting aside the Special Theory of Relativity for the moment), but rather the "timing" of such future events, and not "Time" itself.

The sentence in question is about "...预测病人发病的时机", i.e. the "prediction of an "occurrence" of the 发病, (outbreak or onset), of whatever illness concerned at some point in time in the future.

Thus "Time", (时候, 时间) only forms part of the equation, the other part being the "occurrence of the "event" at a point in time in the future, i.e. the 发病 event.

I therefore agree with @r13, that 时机 is more than just about "time", (时候, 时间), but also the occurrence of an "event" at a point in time in the future.

In my view therefore, the usage of 时机 in the context of the sentence in question encapsulates more comprehensively than what 时候, 时间, (which are about "time" only), could, whereas 时机 is about both "time & event"

Thus, to answer your query "However, it is also possible that 时机 has more meanings that the one I looked up", the 机 in this context also has the meaning of "an occasion", or the "occurrence of an event" Thus in 时机, it is about "time" & "occurrence"

A parallel example is 时间和空间, (Time & Space), which is shortened to 时空, (Spacetime), which is not just about "Time" alone, but about both "Time" & "Space", just as 时机 is about both "Time" & "Occurrence"

Finally, to answer your question "How is 时机 being used in 就可能预测病人发病的时机"?, my view is that 时机 is being used in the sentence in question, (就可能预测病人发病的时机), as an example to acquaint the student with the use of complex compounds like 时机, rather than just 时候, 时间.

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时机: opportunity, moment, occasion, chance, an opportune moment

opportune: from the phrase ob portum veniens "coming toward a port," in reference to the wind, from ob "in front of; toward" + portus "harbor"

比如心脏病,
For example cardiac disease,
病人发病常常是有预兆的,
people with cardiac disease often show signs before a heart attack,
如果对患者的心跳数据有足够长时间的持续积累,
if we monitor a patient's heartbeat data continuously for a sufficient length of time,
就可能预测病人发病的时机;
(then we) could predict the onset (moment, 时机) of a heart attack;
对于心脏病突发致死的案例,
in cases of sudden death due to heart failure,
如果能提前24小时监测到零星先兆,
if (we could) spot sporadic signs of an on-coming heart attack 24 hours in advance,
甚至可以挽救患者的生命。
(we could) even save the patient's life.

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I think 时机 is abbreviated from 时間和机會.

  • 就可能预测(predict/forecast)病人发病的"間和會". - then (it is) possible to predict "the time and chances" the patient's break out to occur".
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I would never use the word 时机 in this context, because I think it is wrong in a sentence 预测什么发生的时机。

预测 means prediction, therefore 预测 can only connect with a time 时间 in the future. For example, 地震的时间是不容易预测准确的。

时机,on the other hand, is something unpredictable. For example, 伺机而动。

他一直在等待时机,准备从监狱里逃出去。

一旦时机成熟,地下组织就会举行武装起义。

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就可能预测病人(的)发病的时机

时机 here, should mean 時間(Time) 機制/病徵(Symptoms)

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