"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

53 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jorjorswens

They went to london last year in the spring.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jieke694731

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kivolamuzikisto

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NathanRasm

If I'm in Australia, and it's January (summer), and I say "this spring," do I mean October just past, or October some months ahead?

If "this spring" is anything like "this Friday"/"last Monday," you won't get unanimous agreement about it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArtBurnap

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaynardHogg

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)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JOrlando3

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.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gabrielle145359

I was taught that the 是 goes directly before the part that is being emphasized (so in this sentence, the time is being emphasized.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JPSeaton

Excellent. Their answer as of January 21st 2020 is not comprehensible...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZingGot

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wgb000
  • 1015

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NathanRasm

Some speakers would go as far as "It was spring last year they went to London" (with no conjunction at all), and others would insist on "It was in spring last year," and some people would quibble about "when" versus "that." Your insistence on "of" is no different.

I am a native speaker of English, and my language does not require "of" any more than yours requires "in." Are you here to boast about your veddy proppah English or are you here to learn Chinese?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArtBurnap

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ann55075

It was last spring WHEN they went to London?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElijahKFoster

I think this is not technically correct. A bit slang.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rafa601557

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Clint506209

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KeironWong

We spend more time trying to work out Duolingo's English in a course where we want to learn Chinese.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PrzemysawE10

Translating Chinese grammar structures into weirdly looking sentences is completely ridiculous


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZingGot

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wclearn

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ann55075

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kech611

Horrible English translation


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Denis.nkn

Come on, "last year spring" is right too


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonnyEightyFour

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JOrlando3

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."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IanMcFarla17

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoselyneHa6

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/James550591

"It was last year's spring that they went to London"was marked as wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Caroline81891

It was in Spring last year that they went to London. The emphasis is there as is proper, but the word "in" made it wrong. They don't seem to cater for English (UK) as opposed to English (US) and I am forever having to resubmit answers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Richard30914

Were we taught this 是... 的 construction somewhere? I think I missed it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bugwine

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArtBurnap

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bugwine

*"They went to London in spring last year"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jim140738

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mui-FuiMcC

That and when interchangeable in that sentence


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaurieBeth20

I don't know what is wrong with that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaurieBeth20

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NathanRasm

In my English both are acceptable, and they have slightly different meanings. "That" is definitely contrastive: It was spring last year, as opposed to any other time. "When" can be contrastive, but it can also just be topicalizing for some other purpose, like setting the scene to tell you about other things that happened then.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alexisvni

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shamshoomi

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mario73939

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alexisvni

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dengxiaoha

Duolingo Chinese : your English is not good at all . my answer us correct


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/carolr

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ann55075

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NathanRasm

Not a passive. The "it was ... that" construction is called a cleft, and they're using it because it has the same function in English that 是⋯⋯的 has in Chinese. People who are learning Chinese from English need to learn 是⋯⋯的 and therefore need to get over the fact that English does a similar thing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lily765326

Is it really the same function? I'm getting the impression that "shi... de" is an informal expression whereas "it was... that" in English is a very formal expression mainly used in literary works. It definitely sounds extremely awkward in this kind of casual context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnPMonah

This is a joke, right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElAustrali

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

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