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  5. "他们是去年春天去伦敦的。"


Translation:It was spring last year that they went to London.

December 7, 2017



They went to london last year in the spring.


Or even last spring. This spring can only be this year.


"They went to London last spring" was just accepted for me. 2019.04.20


I wrote something similar myself that wasn't accepted. I suspect that for the best translation of the 是的 structure, they may be looking for extraposition in English, (that is, movement of the subject to a point father back in the sentence, while making 'it' the new 'dummy' subject): It was ... that (/when) ... // It was he who, ... etc.


It took some digging—I came upon this sentence during a "dumbell" flash card review—but this pattern was introduced way back in the skill Time 4.

It took some digging—I came upon this sentence during a "dumbell" flash card review—but this pattern was introduced way back in the skill Time 4.

The pattern “是 + [information to be addressed] + verb +的” is very similar to the “it is/was the … that …” construction in English, trying to emphasize the particular information between 是 and 的. It is a very popular structure when we try to ask questions since questions aim to figure out specific content. We use it more for stating details related to the verb in the past.

你是昨天去的医院吗? Nǐ shì zuótiān qù de yīyuàn ma? 你们是昨天去医院的吗?
Nǐ[men] shì zuótiān qù yīyuàn de ma? Was it yesterday that you went to the hospital? (emphasis: yesterday)


You wouldn't need the 是 for that, though. I'm wondering if this ought to mean "It was they who went to London last spring." (Argue they/them and who/that if you like, but this basic construction.)


"They went to london in the spring of last year" also not accepted


Here is yet another example where thr "translator" has used English that is not quite correct. We would not normally say "It was spring last year...". More normally we might say "It was (the) spring OF last year." It is still not to late to have the translations checked by an educated speaker of English, and thereby reduce the continuing embarrassment.


I find both the short and longer forms acceptable, though possibly a bit different in formality or register. When I first arrived in Japan many years ago to teach English, I remember pointing out some 'errors,' that I soon discovered were normal expressions in the UK, but until then, unknown to me, a native of the northeastern US.


The English should be 'last spring' or spring of last year


It was last spring WHEN they went to London?


Now that someone below has properly explained the grammatical construction, let's fix the English, shall we? "It was in the spring of last year when they went to London."


Or in English, "Last spring they went to London"


That is what I considered the most common English phrasing, but it carries an ambiguity--'last spring' could mean the spring of this year when it's said in December. 'Spring of last year' would probably the clearest way to say it.


no, that way you ignore the 是⋯⋯的 (shì... de) construction


this is a little bit of a weird translation. "They went to London last spring" would be a little easier on the ears?


Certainly that is the basic, neutral sentence (or as a couple of people suggested, using 'spring (of) last year' to avoid ambiguity). However the point of the 是...的 structure is to highlight, or emphasize the part of the sentence immediately following 是. So, such a sentence is by definition, not a neutral sentence, in which nothing in particular is emphasized. The sentence is quite likely the answer to a request for that very information: When did they go to London?, or expressed in a cleft sentence (mentioned elsewhere here), When was it that they went to London? Lawyers and other people (a skeptical parent or girlfriend?) wishing to establish or verify specific pieces of information are particularly fond of the cleft sentence question. :-)

To answer this in spoken English, we might simply say 'last spring' louder. Putting 'last spring' first, as one person suggested, makes the sentence sound more to me like the answer to 'What did they do last spring.' These are some reasons why the 是...的 structure is often translated into English using the structure: ',It was X, that ... '. This places the emphasis clearly on X.


*"They went to London in spring last year"


Horrible English translation


So many legit variants of this not accepted that I ended up memorising the necessary english sentence. Really learning doing that. :/


It was in spring of last year that they went to London - not acceptex


There is inconsistency throughout this lesson about whether in such sentences, 'last spring' or 'spring last year' are acceptable. Both should be.


I don't know what is wrong with that.


"that they went to London" should be "when they went to London."


They were in London last spring - was rejected (19/06/20)


It was spring of last year when they where in London should be accepted


Why I feel like I'm learning English and not Chinese??


Really! Is the Mandarin not difficult enough, that they want us to figure that out for a translation?? Why?


i don't understand this sentence... :(


Sometimes I write an answer and know its wrong because it seems to correct


C'mon. This is silly: "of" invalidates my answer?! "It was spring of last year that they went to London"


That and when interchangeable in that sentence


This kind of passive sentence, sounds very awkward and wordy in spoken English. More natural to say, They went to London last year in spring.


no, that way you ignore the 是⋯⋯的 (shì... de) construction


This is a joke, right?

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