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Comparing "changchang" and "jingchang"

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Both 常常 (chángcháng) and 经常 (jīngcháng) are adverbs expressing the idea of "often," though their usage differs in 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 instance 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 texts.
  • 你们 经常 加班 吗 ?Nǐmen jīngcháng jiābān ma?Do you guys often work overtime?
  • 他们 常常 吵架 。Tāmen chángcháng chǎojià.They often argue.

Neither 常常 nor 经常 can't be placed before the subject:

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

Note that 常 (by itself) is used for future frequent 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

Although not so commonly used in this way, 经常 can also be used as an adjective referring to things that happens very frequently. 常常 can't be used this way.

A simple example:

  • 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.

Negative Form

经常 and 常常 can share the same negative form 不常. You can also simply use 不 to negate both 经常 and 常常, although 不常常 is not super common.

A few examples:

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

See also

Sources and further reading

Books