Saturday, August 24, 2013

Level B1 Making Question with the 是……的 Sentence Structure

A warm reminder: click the video in this post, you will see the pinyin and hear my reading of the example sentences.
If you are not familiar with the 是……的 sentence structure yet, maybe it will be better to read  Level B1 Sentence Structure 是…… 的 first before you start to read this post.

In this post, we will continue to talk about the 是…… 的 sentence structure. Specifically we are going to make questions based on the original declarative sentence examples mentioned in the post Level B1 Sentence Structure 是…… 的

He went to Xi'an yesterday.

To emphasize that he went to Xi'an yesterday, not another day.
If we have question about what time he went to Xi'an, we may ask, "When did he go to Xi'an? " 
哪天去西安? ( The only thing we need to do is replace the time part with the question word 哪天 (which day, when)
Sometime, we can omit 是 in above question, then we get:

(Notice that here we can not drop the 的 at the end of the question. If so, then meaning of 他哪天去西安?will be "When will he go to Xi'an?" )

He went to Xi'an by plane yesterday.

To emphasize the time part:
To ask about the time information:

To clarify that he took plane, not train or bus.
To ask about the way of transportation he used to go to Xi'an yesterday:
他昨天怎么去西安?    (Now we just replace the transportation way 坐飞机 (by plane) with 怎么 (how, in what way or method))

He went to Xi'an by plane yesterday to visit a friend.

To clarify the time:
To ask about the time information:

To emphasize the way of transportation:
To ask about the way of transportation he used to go to Xi'an yesterday:
Or we can make the question simpler by drop some information that is not really necessary ( in this situation,去见一个朋友, to visit a friend, is not really necessary)  in our question:

To emphasize the purpose:
To ask about the purpose or reason why he went to Xi'an
他昨天坐飞机去西安为什么?  ( Here we replace the purpose 去见一个朋友, to visit a friend, with the question word 为什么(why, for what reason) . Also please notice that we drop the 的 at the end of the sentence, otherwise it will sound awkward. )
Or we can ask this question without the 是……的 structure:
But there is a little difference between the two ways to ask question. With 是……的 structure, we show more curiosity about the reason.