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Comparing "changchang" and "jingchang"

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Both 常常 (chángcháng) and 经常 (jīngcháng) express similar concepts, though using them properly requires attention to some small details.

Used as an Adverb

常常 and 经常 both can be used to express frequency, meaning "often," and that the time between each time it happens is very short. In this case, they are interchangeable.

Structure

常常 / 经常 + Verb

Examples

  • 常常 收到 垃圾 短信 。chángcháng shōudào lājī duǎnxìn.I often receive junk messages.
  • 你们 经常 加班 吗 ?Nǐmen jīngcháng jiābān ma?Do you often work late?
  • 他们 常常 吵架 。Tāmen chángcháng chǎojià.They often fight.

Note that 常常 or 经常 can't be placed before the subject:

  • 常常 他 不 吃 早饭 。Chángcháng tā bù chī zǎo fàn.
  • 经常 不 吃 早饭 。jīngcháng bù chī zǎo fàn.He often skips breakfast.

Note that 常 is often used for future actions in colloquial Chinese.

  • 来 玩 !Cháng lái wán!Come and hang out often!
  • 联系 !Cháng liánxì!Let's keep in touch!

Used as an Adjective

经常 can also be used as an adjective referring to things that happens very frequently, or you can use 经常性 instead. 常常 can't be used this way.

A few examples:

  • 她 忘 带 钥匙 是 经常 的 事情 。Tā wàng dài yàoshi shì jīngcháng de shìqing.It's a regular thing for her to forget to bring her keys.
  • 处理 顾客 投诉 是 酒店 经理 经常性 的 工作。Chǔlǐ gùkè tóusù shì jiǔdiàn jīnglǐ jīngchángxìng de gōngzuò. It's a common job for a hotel's manager to deal with customers' complaints.

Negative Form

经常 and 常常 can share the same negative form 不常. You can simply use 不 to negate 经常 while you can't do that with 常常.

A few examples:

  • 不 常 抽烟 。bù cháng chōuyān.He doesn't smoke very often.
  • 我 妈妈 不 常 网购 。Wǒ māma bù cháng wǎng gòu.My mother doesn't often shop online.

Try not to say:

  • 不 常常 看 电视 。bù chángcháng kàn diànshì.I don't watch television very often.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books