"It was three days ago that we arrived."


January 3, 2018

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I dont quite understand why we use 是 or 的 in this sentence. Can someone explain that? I thought 我们三天前到了.


The meaning is the same but the emphasis is different.
我们是三天前到的 the emphasis is on the time of arrival. Imagine a murder happened at your hotel and you are being interrogated by a police officer when you have started to be there.
我们三天前到了 the emphasis is on the state of having arrived; "3 days ago" is only given as an additional information. Imagine telling a friend who invited you to her wedding in another country that you have already arrived.


Can you please tell me what's the difference with 「三天前我們到了。」? I really want to know.


Grammatically, time placed at the very beginning is a contextual background of the whole sentence, whereas time placed immediately before the verb is an adverbial phrase. There is no difference in meaning.
I give you an example:
30 years ago, all shops close at 5pm.
With this sentence you can translate like this:
However it would be a little awkward to translate like this:
I am not saying it is wrong, but it would be confusing as 5pm is more describing the closing action, rather than on the phenomenon the whole sentence is about.


In which case, there is no emphasis, one over the other, in English, so both are correct ?


是。。。的 the structure is mostly used for certain things. For example, 我是从美国来的




前到 should not be grouped together in the word bank. They are two separate words/concepts.


There are so many errors in the accepted answers throughout the course, the above comments here also points that out.


As a chinese, I wrote : 我们三天前到的(I missed "是")....


”我们三天前到“ also the answer


I understand the grammar underlying this—“We are three days arrived” is available in English, too (“We were but three days arrived when Horatio turned into a wombat”), but I'm a bit baffled as to why “It was three days ago that we arrived” is seen as aligning with 「我们是三天前到的」. In the English, the time is moved to prominence, and the actors, even the action, are demoted. The scene is set to tell a story, one that might not even involve “us”. The Mandarin—what does it do pragmatically? It seems to be making the time an attribute of the actors. Does it set 我们 up as observers of the action, perhaps? Sometimes the lack of analysis is even more frustrating than the focus on translation. …And, yes, I know there are notes if you think to go and look, but they give no insight as to what's going on, just a few more examples, what seems to me to be a somewhat confused view of what's going on in English (English uses stress to draw attention to the time regardless of position—the effect of the passivisation is to de-emphasise the subject, not to emphasise the time), and a flat assertion that two seemingly different constructions have the same effect.


我们三天前到的 should be allowed


Then 的 should not be used. No.


三天前我們來到了 should be accepted, I would say.


來到了 is like "come to", which should be followed with the place of arriving.


True. Are you from China?


Shouldn't this also accept "以前" ("我們是三天以前到的。")?


I don't think so?? "以前" Means "before", but is usually put at the front of the sentence and when you are certain of the amount of time, whereas "前" is usually put after a certain time. For example, "以前,我有隻狗" meaning "I had a dog before," and "三年前,我有隻狗" meaning "I had a dog 3 years ago." Sorry if it's not clear, I'm kinda bad at explaining


Where is the ?


我们三天以前到达了 but seriously there are so many viable alternative translations to this it was hard to pick one


Why is there no measure word between 三 and 天?


Because 天 is already a measure word in itself

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