III. Circumstantial elements that the shì ... de construction highlights.

 

1. Focusing on time

 

1.1     Wáng Xiānsheng shì shénme shíhou huí Běijīng de? 

王先生是什么时候回北京的?

When did Mr. Wang return to Beijing?

 

1.2     Wáng Xiānsheng shì qùnián huí Běijīng de. 

王先生是去年回北京的。

Mr. Wang returned to Beijing last year. /It was last year that Mr. Wang returned to Beijing.

 

Sentence 1.2 could also be an answer to the following questions.

 

1.3     Wáng Xiānsheng shì něi nián huí Běijīng de? 

王先生是哪年回北京的?

In which year did Mr. Wang return to Beijing?

 

1.4     Wáng Xiānsheng shì qùnián huí Běijīng de ma? 

王先生是去年回北京的吗?

Was it last year that Mr. Wang returned to Beijing?

 

1.5     Wáng Xiānsheng shì shì qùnián huí Běijīng de? 

王先生是不是去年回北京的?

Was it last year that Mr. Wang returned to Beijing?