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Chinese Grammar: Expressing frequency with 平时 and 平常 - part II

Congratulations you’ve made it to the second part of expressing frequency! Only two words left, and we're done here. In the previous lesson, we took a look at 经常 and 常常 to speak about habit. Now, in this lesson, we'll see 平常 and 平时 to express frequency.

You can make it through all these words, I'm sure. We're fighting together! 加油!


Both 平时 and 平常 mean “often” to describe the frequency. If there is a difference, to some situation, 平常 is a little bit more complicated to use than 平时.

Using 平时 as a noun

Use 平时 or 平常 as a noun to express frequency. You can use both indifferently.


Subject + 平时 + Verb


平时 运动
Most of the time, I don’t like doing sports.

平时 不在 吃饭
He doesn’t eat that often at home.

平时 工作 时候 大家 认真
Ordinarily, we all work very seriously.

Using 平常 as a noun

In this situation, 平常 as a noun is a little bit more precise and describe a habit, a regular habit. It means “at the usual time”, “ordinarily/usually/normally”.


Subject + 平常 + Verb


平常 自己 做饭
Normally I cook and eat at home by myself.

平常 下班
He usually gets off work at 6 pm.

平常 电视
I don't watch a lot of TV during ordinarily.

Using 平常 as an adjective

When using 平常 as an adjective, place it before a noun. His English equivalent is “common”, "typical" or "ordinary".


平常 + Noun


明星 平常 家庭。 He is a star, but he has a typical family.

平常 生活
She lives an ordinary life.

一块 平常
This is a common jade.

On these two last situations of 平常 can’t be replaced by 平时.

In all other cases, 平常 and 平时 are interchangeable but beware of the case where 平常 is an adjective, you can't use 平时.

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