Chinese Grammar: Expressing frequency with 经常 and 常常 - part I
In Chinese, when you are describing an action or a thing, you can use one of these frequency words 经常, 常常, 平常, 平时... These four are really useful, but you may find them not easy to use. Don't feel anxious about it, we have well-classified them.
In this first part, we'll be comparing 经常 and 常常.
Basic use of 经常 and 常常
经常 and 常常 indicate the frequency of things. Use them for expressing that you do something very often.
In the following situation, you can interchange 经常 and 常常 at will and usually put them before the verbs.
我 常常 去 他 家 玩。
I often go to his house to play with him.
我 经常 七 点 起床。
I often get up at 7 o’clock.
周末 我 常常 去 奶奶 家。
I often go to visit my grandma on weekends.
In these situations, 经常 and 常常 refer to habits, in the other conditions, you can't use 常常.
Using 经常 as an adjective
经常 can be used as an adjective before a noun to indicate that something happens frequently.
经常 + Noun
他 忘 带 作业 是 经常 的 事儿。
Forgetting to bring the homework is a common thing for him.
忘 带 钥匙 是 她 经常 的 行为。
Forgetting to bring the key is her common act.
Using 经常 to describe in the future
You can also use 经常 to describe something that will happen in the future, in the same manner, you do for the present.
经常 + Verb
我 以后 要 经常 做 运动。
I’m going to do more exercise later.
不忙 的 时候 你 要 经常 回家 看看 。
You should visit your family more often when you’re not so busy.
Negative pattern with 不
The negative structure of 常常 and 经常 are different.
Since 不 negate 常 in 常常, the negative structure became 不 常. More straightforward and classic, 不 经常 is the negative form of 经常.
我 不 常 吃 面条。
I don’t eat noodles very often.
我 不 经常 打 蓝 球。
I am seldom playing basketball.
他 不 常 去 学校。
He doesn’t go to the school that often.
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Remember that you can’t interchange 常常 with 经常 only in specific situations we introduced you. Both of them stress an action that happens many “times”.