Tag Archives: question

Why is there no 的 in the question 你是第一次去北京吗 (is this your first time going to Beijing)?

This is from our Chinese book (entitled 会通汉语 读写1, and available from 京东):

enter image description here

莉莉:这是我在北京拍的照片。
何大华:你是第一次去北京吗?

Lìlì: zhè shì wǒ zài Běijīng pāi de zhàopiàn.
Hé Dàhuá: nǐ shì dìyīcì qù Běijīng ma?

(As I understand, Lili (莉莉) says these are the photos she took in Beijing, and He Dahua (何大华) asks if this was her first time in Beijing.)

I’m confused about He Dahua’s grammar: he seems to be using a 你是[something]的 construction, but in this case the 的 is omitted. It reads like Are you “the first time going to Beijing”? which doesn’t make sense to me (she’s a human, not a trip to Beijing).

I feel 你是第一次去北京的吗? is better, but maybe I’m wrong.

Question: Why is there no 的 in the question 你是第一次去北京吗?


The question What’s the grammatical structure of 这是你第一次来中国吗? is similar, and asks about:

是你第一次来中国吗?

This is slightly (but importantly) different since the order in the linked question is 是你第一次…, while in this question the order is 你是第一次…:

你是第一次去北京吗?

I wouldn’t be confused if the question instead were 是你第一次去北京吗?