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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

Structure

Subj. +Verb Phrase 1,顺便 + Verb Phrase 2

Example

  • 你 去 买 早饭 的 时候 顺便 帮 我 带 杯 咖啡 吧。Nǐ chūqù de shíhou shùnbiàn bāng wǒ dài bēi kāfēi ba.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?Nǐ qù chāoshì néng bu néng shùnbiàn bāng wǒ mǎi yī píng niúnǎi?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。Lǎobǎn qù jiàn kèhù, shùnbiàn chī le wǔfàn.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。Wǒ xià zhōu qù Běijīng chūchāi, shùnbiàn qù kàn yīgè péngyou.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。Wǒ chūmén de shíhou dōu huì shùnbiàn rēng lājī.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。Nǐ jiàn tā de shíhou shùnbiàn wèn yīxià tā zhōumò lái bu lái.Ask him if he's coming this weekend when you meet him.

Colloquial usage of 顺便

Here 顺便 means by the way.

Common phrases

顺便说一下

顺便问一下

Example

  • 顺便 说 一下,我 最近 搬 家 了。Shùnbiàn huō yīxià, wǒ zuìjìn bān jiā le.By the way, I moved lately.
  • 顺便 问 一下,你 下周 什么 时候 回来?Shùnbiàn wèn yīxià, nǐ xià zhōu shénme shíhou huílái?By the way, when are you coming back next weekend?
  • 顺便 说 一下,电脑 已经 修 好 了。Shùnbiàn huō yīxià, diànnǎo yǐjīng xiū hǎo le.By the way, the computer's been fixed.

See aslo

Sources and further reading

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