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    #1

    time that, time which, time when

    I need help coaching my Chinese students on the uses of the words that, which, and when following time nouns.

    "I'll never forget the summer ____ we spent in Paris." This kind of thing seems to pop up on tests fairy regularly. I have a good intuitive sense of what would be correct in specific instances, but can't find a detailed set of guidelines to share. I know that often these words can be left out (as in the example given), but it seems the teachers are demanding that something be put in the blank. I have searched here and in other references (Swan), but haven't found anything that really addresses this.

    I think one difficulty is that rules in spoken English are more relaxed than in the (rather pedantic) opinions of Chinese teachers of English who have a pretty tenuous grasp of the language themselves and assume that the way they were taught is the one and only correct way. Yet they are the ones grading the tests and these tests have an outsized impact on the future prospects of Chinese students.

    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by J&K Tutoring; 19-Nov-2013 at 04:15.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: time that, time which, time when

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    I need help coaching my Chinese students on the uses of the words that, which, and when following time nouns.

    "I'll never forget the summer ____ we spent in Paris." This kind of thing seems to pop up on tests fairy regularly. I have a good intuitive sense of what would be correct in specific instances, but can't find a detailed set of guidelines to share. I know that often these words can be left out, but it seems the teachers are demanding that something be put in the blank. I have searched here and in other references (Swan), but haven't found anything that really addresses this.

    I think one difficulty is that rules in spoken English are more relaxed than in the (rather pedantic) opinions of Chinese teachers of English who have a pretty tenuous grasp of the language themselves and assume that the way they were taught is the one and only correct way. Yet they are the ones grading the tests and these tests have an outsized impact on the future prospects of Chinese students.

    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
    First, no word is required in the blank space. The following words form a relative clause that defines "summer". If you put a word in the space, it should be "that". But "that" can be omitted when it is not the subject of the relative clause.

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    #3

    Re: time that, time which, time when

    Thanks, but that's not really a help. I merely gave that sentence as an example of the type of structure my students find. I'm looking for rules, guidelines- something to share with them so when they find "this kind of thing" (please reread my post) they will have some ammunition while taking the test and in discussions with the teacher afterward.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: time that, time which, time when

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    Thanks, but that's not really a help. I merely gave that sentence as an example of the type of structure my students find. I'm looking for rules, guidelines- something to share with them so when they find "this kind of thing" (please reread my post) they will have some ammunition while taking the test and in discussions with the teacher afterward.
    I suggest you read my post. As far as I can tell, I answered your questions. If you are not satisfied, try Googling "relative pronouns".

  3. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: time that, time which, time when

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    I need help coaching my Chinese students on the uses of the words that, which, and when following time nouns.

    "I'll never forget the summer ____ we spent in Paris." This kind of thing seems to pop up on tests fairy regularly. I have a good intuitive sense of what would be correct in specific instances, but can't find a detailed set of guidelines to share. I know that often these words can be left out (as in the example given), but it seems the teachers are demanding that something be put in the blank. I have searched here and in other references (Swan), but haven't found anything that really addresses this.

    I think one difficulty is that rules in spoken English are more relaxed than in the (rather pedantic) opinions of Chinese teachers of English who have a pretty tenuous grasp of the language themselves and assume that the way they were taught is the one and only correct way. Yet they are the ones grading the tests and these tests have an outsized impact on the future prospects of Chinese students.

    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
    Hello, J&K tutoring.

    I agree with Mike's response in #2.

    If you divide your sentence into two, it goes like:
    "I'll never forget the summer. We spent it in Paris."

    The 'it' is a pronoun, so you need a relative pronoun to connect these sentences, and thus:
    "I'll never forget the summer [that/which] we spent in Paris."

    However, in
    "I'll never forget the summer ( BLANK ) we first met."

    The sentence above could be divided into:
    "I'll never forget the summer. We first met then."

    The 'then' is an adverb, so you need a relative adverb to connect them, and therefore:
    "I'll never forget the summer when we first met."
    or, probably colloquially,
    "I'll never forget the summer [that] we first met." - I think the word 'that' in this sentence is often left out.

    I hope it will shed some light on your query.
    (And I hope I'm not talking nonsense.)
    Last edited by tzfujimino; 19-Nov-2013 at 07:41.

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