当...时 VS 的时候
I've been trying to figure out the differences between "当...时", "...的时候 ", and "当...的时候" for quite a while now. If anyone knows, I would really appreciate it if you could teach me! :)
They mostly help to change your speaking style. Not much difference. In my opinion, 当 (“when”) and 在 (“at”) give slightly more emphasis on the time.
Differently, 正当…的时候 (“just when”) and 正在…的时候 (“right at the time”) put much more focus on the process.
p.s. 当 is more suitable for past events. 在 is more common when describing the conditions in a general sense.
Oh and do you know if one of the terms is more literary than the others? Does on sound more formal?
Formality doesn't matter here. They just sound normal.
Because 当 is often used to describe past events, it is more commonly seen in storytelling. There is also a word 当时, meaning “(at) that time, (at) that moment”.
I can't find 正当…的时候 in my browser history, so this is probably not introduced in the course.