Expressing "while you're at it" with "shunbian"
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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 use 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。Bring me a cup of coffee when you go to buy breakfast.
- 你 去 超市 能 不 能 顺便 帮 我 买 一 瓶 牛奶？Could you please buy me a bottle of milk when you go to the supermarket?
- 老板 去 见 客户，顺便 吃 了 午饭。The boss went to see the client and also eat lunch with him.
- 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 out the trash every time 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 meet him.
Colloquial usage of 顺便
Here 顺便 means by the way.
- 顺便 说 一下，我 最近 搬 家 了。By the way, I moved lately.
- 顺便 问 一下，你 下周 什么 时候 回来？By the way, when are you coming back next weekend?
- 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？