Asked • 04/21/19

Difference between “当…时”, “…的时候”, and “当…的时候”?

What is the difference between : > “当…时” and > “…的时候” and > “当…的时候” when refer to "when" in Chinese? I have tried to look for an answer but I couldn't find a clear one.

Yuan C.

As a native Chinese speaker, I think the first two are pretty interchangeable. Most of the times, it depends on the context in which you are using the sentence. For example, "当" is relatively formal and usually includes a complete sentence, e.g. "当(你)遇到困难时." While using "的时候" is more colloquial, but does not require a complete sentence, such as "吃饭的时候.“ Like "的时候", "...时" is simple, direct, and formal. "当...的时候” feels a bit redundant, but there is no harm using it in conversations.


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