(#41) When / 几时,什么时候

Finally we are at the last interrogative, and if you are keeping tabs, the last interrogative is ‘when’.

To say when, you say 几时 ji3 shi2. Individually, 几 can mean ‘a few’ but right here it means ‘how many’. 时 is the same 时 in 时间 shi2 jian1, which means time.

Quick interjection for vocabulary:
时钟 shi2 zhong1 clock
时代 shi2 dai4 generation
时尚 shi2 shang4 fashion

Another way of asking ‘when’ is by saying 什么时候 shen3 me4 shi2 hou4. 时候 sshi hou4 also means time, but it is because the English word ‘time’ is more accommodating, while Chinese is a bit more particular in this case. 时候 shi2 hou4 can more accurately be understood as ‘a general frame of time’, and together with 什么, you are basically asking ‘generally what time frame’.

几时 and 什么时候 can be used interchangeably, if you prefer to say 4 words instead of 2, you can choose the latter.

你几时有空?ni3 ji3 shi2 you3 kong4? When are you free?
你什么时候有空?ni3 shen3 me4 shi2 hou4 you3 kong4? When are you free?

我几时这样说过?wo3 ji3 shi2 zhe4 yang4 shuo1 guo4? When did I say that?
我什么时候这样说过?wo3 shen2 me4 shi2 hou4 zhe4 yang4 shuo1 guo4? When did I say that?

This few posts will be all time relating date related again. Stay tune!

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