Expressing "while you're at it" with "shunbian"
Although sometimes translated as "in passing" or even "conveniently," the most common way that the idea of adverb 顺便 (shùnbiàn) is expressed in English is "while you're at it" (or "while I'm at it," etc.). It's the idea of doing something at a convenient and logical time to save effort. Now you just have to get used to expressing this concept as an adverb.
General Usage of 顺便
Subj. + Verb Phrase 1, 顺便 + Verb Phrase 2
- 你 去 买 早饭 的 时候 顺便 帮 我 带 杯 咖啡 吧。When you go out to get breakfast can you also bring me a cup of coffee?
- 你 去 超市 能 不 能 顺便 帮 我 买 一 瓶 牛奶？Could you pick me up a bottle of milk while you're at the supermarket?
- 老板 去 见 客户，顺便 吃 了 午饭。The boss went to see the client and also ate lunch while he was at it.
- 我 下周 去 北京 出差，顺便 去 看 一 个 朋友。I'm going to Beijing on a business trip next week. I'll go to visit a friend while I'm there.
- 我 出门 的 时候 都 会 顺便 扔 垃圾。I take the trash out as I leave the house.
- 你 见 他 的 时候 顺便 问 一下 他 周末 来 不 来。Ask him if he's coming this weekend when you see him.
Colloquial Usage of 顺便
Here 顺便 means something like "by the way, I'd like to...."
顺便 说 一下……
顺便 问 一下……
- 顺便 说 一下，我 最近 搬家 了。By the way, I moved recently.
- 顺便 问 一下，你 下周 什么 时候 回来？By the way, when next week are you coming back?
- 顺便 说 一下，电脑 已经 修 好 了。By the way, the computer's been fixed.
- 顺便 打听 一下，你 觉得 小王 这 个 人 怎么样？By the way, I just wanted to ask you: what do you think of Xiao Wang?