time location in a sentence

January 30, 2010, 12:50 AM posted in General Discussion

If I say "Tomorrow he will be here", the time reference is at the beginning of the sentence, as I would expect:

Míngtiān tā zài zhèli.

But if I say "He will be here in 20 minutes", the time reference goes at the end of the sentence, as in:

Tā zài zhèli èrshí fēnzhōng.

Can anyone explain to me why this is? Thanks!


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January 30, 2010, 05:24 AM

Hi kenmandu

I don't think 他在这里二十分钟 (Tā zài zhèli èrshí fēnzhōng) means "He will be here in 20 minutes". I would say "二十分钟后他要来" or "再过二十分钟后他要来" (zai4guo4 20 fen1zhong1 ....), for example.

If you say "他在这里(已经)二十分钟了", it means "He has been here for 20 minutes". Or, you can also say, "他到这里(已经)二十分钟了" (ta1 dao4 zhe4li3 yi2jing .... ).