"We will see a friend at three in the afternoon."
The first time I answered this example i put 钟 in because previous sentences put me in the habit of it. This time I skipped it because the English sentence they gave doesn’t use ‘o’clock’, just ‘at three’.
It was marked wrong (skipping 钟）but I think it must be an oversight because before we learned 钟 we made lots of acceptable sentences without it.
I also wrote: 我们下午三点钟会见一个朋友。
I wanted to be precise in translation and without the 一个 it would just mean ‘will see friends’. Sure, it doesn’t need 一个 but I agree that it would seem (to me) to be a valid part of the translation if included.
Sorry, not a native speaker. Have reported my sentence though so hopefully the mods team can accept it if acceptable.
Does anyone have a mnemonic to help me remember the correct sentence order? I read the chinese as "we afternoon 3 o'clock will see friend" which in my brain is horribly wrong, so every time I have to write the chinese I actually get it wrong - I wrote "我们会见朋友下午三点钟" Please help! Also - would native speakers object to my sentence order, would it be understood at all? Lol
Richard711603 covers it.
I remember it as: S V O (Subject Verb Object) ...and then add in the time or place (S T O V or S P O V).
In English we go from small/specific to big (addresses, time, etc e.g. 15 Long Road, Smalltown, or 5pm Sunday the 5th of March) whereas Chinese go from big to small, sort of zeroing in on the target. Eg for an address: country, town, street, number (中国，北京，长安路，十一楼）Or for time: year, month, day, time （2020 八月，星期一，八点).
And when I think of it that way it seems sensible to always put the time or place first, setting the scene, before the rest of the sentence.