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Learn the Chinese Difference Between 时间vs时候

Learn Chinese difference between 时候/时间 - Dao Mandarin

Let`s learn one of the most confusing Chinese vocabularies , Learn the Chinese Difference Between 时间vs时候

In the intricate fabric of Mandarin Chinese, expressions of time play a crucial role in conveying meaning and context. Two such expressions, 时间 (shíjiān) and 时候 (shíhou), often stand at the forefront of discussions about temporal concepts. Yet, their subtle differences can sometimes puzzle learners. Join us as we embark on an enlightening journey to unravel the complexities and nuances of 时间 and 时候。

The phrase 时间shíjiān: generally refers to time as a duration, period, or specific point in time,while 时候shíhou: emphasizes a particular moment or occasion in time. Let’s see the usages of these two words.

1. 时间shíjiān:

Objective Measurement: 时间 refers to time as a quantifiable and measurable entity, often expressed in units such as seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc.

Example: "我今天花了很多时间准备这个报告。" (wǒ jīntiān huāle hěnduō shíjiān zhǔnbèi zhège bàogào.) - "I spent a lot of time preparing this report today."

Duration or Period: 时间 can also denote a duration or period of time, indicating the length of an event or activity.

Example: “他在公司工作了五年时间" (tā zài gōngsī gōngzuò le wǔ nián shíjiān.) - "He has worked at the company for five years."

2. 时候shíhou:

Temporal Context: 时候 emphasizes the temporal context or specific point in time when an event occurs or a situation arises.

Example: "我每天早上七点起床的时候觉得特别清爽。" (wǒ měitiān zǎoshang qī diǎn qǐchuáng de shíhou juéde tèbié qīngshuǎng.) - "I feel especially refreshed when I wake up at seven every morning."

Subjective Perception: 时候 often reflects the subjective perception or experience of time, focusing on the moment or circumstance.

Example: "下雨的时候我喜欢听音乐。" (xià yǔ de shíhou wǒ xǐhuān tīng yīnyuè.) - "I like to listen to music when it's raining."


As our exploration draws to a close, we stand enlightened by the intricacies of 时间 and 时候. While both expressions serve as windows to the temporal dimension of Mandarin Chinese, they each offer unique perspectives and shades of meaning. Whether quantifying the passing of moments with 时间 or pinpointing the specific moments with 时候, these linguistic tools enrich our ability to navigate the complexities of time and communicate with precision and clarity in Mandarin Chinese.


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