HSK Words: 时间 (shí jiān) VS 时候 (shí hòu)

Friday, November 10, 2023

In our daily life, we often confuse 时间 (shí jiān) and 时候 (shí hòu), and what is the difference between 时间 (shí jiān) and 时候 (shí hòu)?

"时间" (shí jiān) refers to a year, month, day, hour, or minute, which can be expressed by numbers or quantities. It can be a point in time or a time period.


  1. The meeting time tomorrow is 9:00 in the morning.
    míng tiān kāi huì de shí jiān shì zǎo shàng 9:00。
  2. I practice listening for two hours every day.
    wǒ měi tiān dōu yòng liǎng gè xiǎo shí de shí jiān liàn xí tīng lì 。
  3. How long are you going?
    nǐ yào qù duō cháng shí jiān?

"时候" (shí hòu) often refers to a specific time or a particular period of time, such as in examples. It often appears as a phrase "...time" to serve as an adverbial modifier indicating the time of an action or a situation.

Additionally, "what time" asks for a specific time. When translating into English, it would be rendered as "when".


  1. You should pay attention to the meeting tomorrow.
    míng tiān kāi huì de shí hòu nǐ yào zhù yì tīng 。
  2. He was on the phone when I came in.
    我进门的时候, 他正在打电话。
    wǒ jìn mén de shí hòu , tā zhèng zài dǎ diàn huà 。
  3. The scenery here is beautiful in summer.
    xià tiān de shí hòu zhè lǐ de fēng jǐng hěn měi 。

Quiz:Please consider whether to use "时间 (shí jiān)" or "时候" (shí hòu) in the following sentences:

  1. 现在是北京____六点。
    xiàn zài shì běi jīng ____ liù diǎn 。
  2. 你什么有___?我有点事想麻烦你一下。
    nǐ shén me yǒu ___? wǒ yǒu diǎn shì xiǎng má fán nǐ yī xià 。
  3. 夏天的___,白天的___很长。
    xià tiān de ___, bái tiān de ___ hěn cháng 。


  1. 时间(shí jiān)
  2. 时间(shí jiān)
  3. 时候(shí hòu),时间(shí jiān)

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