Chinese Grammar: Expressing “repeatedly” an action
It’s common that sometimes we do something over and over again. It’s interesting that in Chinese, we have two handy patterns: “verbing around” and a repeated verb. Today we’ll introduce them to you!
Using the structure with 来 and 去
If you want to describe one action is doing over and over again, you can use 来 and 去 with a verb that is repeated in a sentence pattern.
Verb + 来 + Verb + 去
Attention here you should put the same verb before 来 and 去 because this pattern emphasizes on the same action is repeating over time.
他 想来 想 去 ， 还是 决定 不 去 中国 了。
He’s been thinking it over and over, and finally decided he’s not going to China.
我 看来 看 去 ， 不知 道 他 在 哪儿。
I’ me finding all over the place and I still don’t know where he is.
别 在 办公室 走 来 走去 的！
Don’t pace in the office!
他 问 来 问 去 ， 还是 不知 道 这个 用 中文 怎么 说。
He repeatedly asked around him, but he still doesn’t know how to say in Chinese.
You can also use 再三 with a verb to describe an action is done repeatedly. Literally, it means “3 times again” so you can understand it as something is happening “time and time again”. You can put both this word before and after a verb.
再三 + verb or verb + 再三
我 思考 再三 ， 决定 不 买 这 条 裙子。
After thinking it over, I decided not to buy this skirt.
他 再三 挑选 ， 终于 找到 了 合适 的 礼物。
He looked and looked and finally found the right gift.
妈妈 叮嘱 再三 ， 出门 在外 一切 小心。
Mom reminded me, again and again, to be careful when I was out alone.
她 再三 抱怨 自己 这 次 没有 考 好。
She is complaining over and over that she didn’t do well on the test.