I've found the following sentence:


However, I'm convinced that this sentence should be 你是什么时候买苹果的?.

Why does the sentence above require after ? What purpose does it function for?

  • You can say 你什么买苹果? so if you put 是 in it ,you need to change 买 to a nonfinite verb。I don't know Chinese grammar,though I'm a native speaker.
    – sfy
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 10:13

3 Answers 3


is used here for past tense.

你(是)什么时候买苹果的? -> When did you buy the apple?
你(是)什么时候买苹果? -> When will you buy the apple?

And 你是什么时候买的苹果? is same as 你是什么时候买苹果的?, but more oral.

  • Is it possible to remove in both sentences?
    – Blaszard
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 18:08
  • 1
    @Gardecolo Yes, and become more oral.
    – user4072
    Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 2:00
  • are there any online documents confirming being"more oral","实用现代汉语语法" says nothing regarding "more oral",有没有线上文件会证实"的"出现在谓语动词之后,宾语之前更为"口头"的?
    – user6065
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 1:58
  • @user6065 It's just my point of view, as a native Chinese...
    – user4072
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 2:15

Both seem correct。实用现代汉语语法 available free on the web (http://book.douban.com/subject/1091176/)has a section titled "是。。。的"句 pp。762-784 discussing both possibilities。 In the introductory section 一,"是。。。的"句(一)的结构特点 there already are two examples (1),(3)with 的 at the end of the sentence,and two before the object as in the sentence in question, (2)我是在预售处买的票。 (4)今天中午我们是吃的饺子。

  • +1 for 实用现代汉语语法. This is an outstanding grammar reference book
    – wpt
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 0:45
  • 遗憾地是,与上述答案相反,该课本不是免费提供的。
    – user6065
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 8:00

We don't put between and 苹果 but end of sentence to say When did you bought the apples?.

Also you can say 苹果是什么时候买的? to express When were the apples brought?

  • The sentence above doesn't make sense...? It's from Rosetta Stone's example sentence...
    – Blaszard
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 12:21
  • I am from Hong Kong and we don't usually say that here. We usually use Cantonese here more than Mandarin. That is what I was taught anyway.
    – Pete C.
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 14:12
  • Thank you for the information. Although I've been learning about Mandarin, I'm more interested in Hong Kong, so it's good to know that.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 18:10

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