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  5. "I eat at 1:30."

"I eat at 1:30."


January 25, 2018



should the adjective of time be strictly fixed or it may switch places with the noun?


Um, it's grammatically an adverbial.

In Chinese, the adverbial is put before the verb in almost every cases even if the adverbial is a nasty long clause. Some adverbial, called "complement" in Chinese grammar, is put after the verb. But that's another story.


Why is 饭 (fan) included it means rice which isn't part of the translation


Actually, the meaning of character 饭 is not rice. Duolingo makes a mistake here. But it is understandable, as a full explanation would require some knowledge about the history of Chinese food.

When people eat rice, they do not mill it into rice flour. Instead, they heat the rice grains directly with steam. The food cooked in this way is called 饭. In ancient China. 饭 is the most common way for cooking grains. People made 饭 from millet, barley and even wheat (麦饭). But most of them disappeared in history, only the rice 饭 remains.

Since 饭 was so important for Chinese people, the meaning of this character gradually becomes "meal". In modern Chinese, "吃饭" means "have a meal", instead of "eat the steam-cooked grain".

If what you want to say is exactly "steamed rice", use the word 米饭. There are three words in Chinese that may be translated into "rice" in English:

  • 稻: rice, the plant
  • 米: rice, the grain
  • 米饭: rice, threshed, steamed and ready for eating. Sometimes shortened as 饭.


Interesting! Thanks for the background!


Thanks. But doesn't "吃" alone mean "eat"? So shouldn't "我一点半吃" be correct? Why do we need the "饭" at all?


我一点半吃 is technically correct and people will speak like this when they are in a hurry. But in most cases 吃饭 is used instead of 吃 when there is no object after the verb. Same for the verb 睡. 睡觉(sleep a sleep) is more common than a single verb 睡.


Amazing! thank you so much


I replied "一点半我吃饭" and it was accepted.


In chinese grammar, the subject must be placed before the object. This is correct because you've technically said the same thing, but turned 一点半 into the subject, making the english equivalent "at one oclock, I eat." Duolingo seems to change its mind re: when to be picky about keeping the sentence order the same or not


Would 我吃饭在一点半(Wǒ chīfàn zài yīdiǎn bàn) make sense with the extra zai? Or is it incorrect?

Is there no need for an AT character?

Also, I submitted 我吃饭一点半 (Wǒ chīfàn yīdiǎn bàn), I thought word order in mandarin was flexible, any particular reason why this was marked wrong?


First, as I've mentioned in the comment above, in Chinese the adverbial is put before the verb in almost every cases, which is different from English. So 我吃饭在一点半 is ungrammatical.

Second, the character "at" is not required in this sentence, but it is required when you want to express the location of the action (e.g. "at the end of the road").

And finally, the word order in mandarin is probably not that flexible as you may think.


This was very helpful, thank you.


Duolingo should at least tech us whst thr word means before asking us a question about it. Its like learning cosines, sines, and tangents. You cant just expect the student to solve a question using the law of sines or cosines.


well there is a button you should click before going into the lesson, it's next to the button for skipping to the next level. It opens a page explaining everything you'll need.


In theory, at least.


Should you always use 半 or is it okay to use 三十分?


I see "五点半“ as "half past five" and "五点三十分“ as "5:30" though they all mean the same.(please correct me if i'm wrong)


why 我吃饭在一点半 doesn't work?




I think that means: "I ate at 1:30," so it is the wrong tense.


I'm sure I got this right!


Me too, but yet it was marked wrong!


For the most part I think I catch on pretty quick learning Chinese thing that trips me up sometimes is the way sentences are written backwards and some are not. For example this one I wrote it out as 我吃饭一点半

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