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

 

4. Focusing on the agent of the action

 

4.1     Zhèi jiàn shìqíng shì shéi gàosù de? 

          这件事情是谁告诉你的?

          Who told you this?

If the verb has a direct object, it is often displaced to the beginning of the sentence.

 

4.2     Zhèi jiàn shìqíng shì Wáng Huá gàosù de. 

这件事情是王华告诉我的。

Hua Wang told me about it. /It was Hua Wang who told me about it.

 

Sentence 4.2 could also be an answer to the following questions.

 

4.3     Zhèi jiàn shìqíng shì gàosù de ma? 

          这件事情是他告诉你的吗?

Did HE tell you about this matter? /Was it he who told you about this matter

 

4.4     Zhèi jiàn shìqíng shì shì gàosù de? 

          这件事情是不是他告诉你的?

Did HE tell you about this matter? /Was it he who told you about this matter

 

4.5     Zhèi jiàn shìqíng shì zěnme zhīdào de? (focus on manner) 

这件事情你是怎么知道的?

How did you know about this matter?