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Chinese Adverbs of Frequency Lesson Plan: Similarities & Differences of ‘Chángcháng' , ‘Jingcháng’ and ‘Wangwang’

written by: Sujanti Djuanda • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 9/13/2013

The usages of Chinese adverbs of frequency (频率副词的用法【pínlǜfùcí de yòngfǎ】) 常常, 经常, and 往往【chángcháng, jīngcháng and wǎngwǎng】 often confuse beginners. If you are new to teaching Chinese, especially adverbs of frequency (频率副词【pínlǜfùcí】), here is a step-by-step lesson plan on the differences.

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    Mandarin Chinese Adverbs of Frequency

    (频率副词的用法【pínlǜfùcí de yòngfǎ】) 常常, 经常and 往往【chángcháng, jīngcháng and wǎngwǎng】:

    1. Explain the meaning and usage of the Mandarin Chinese adverbs of frequency (频率副词的用法【pínlǜfùcí de yòngfǎ】) 常常, 经常【chángcháng=often, jīngcháng=often】with examples.

    2. Explain the meaning and usage of the Mandarin Chinese adverb of frequency (频率副词的用法【pínlǜfùcí de yòngfǎ】) 往往【wǎngwǎng=often】with examples.

    3. Give sentences with similar and difference usages of Mandarin Chinese adverb of frequency (频率副词的用法【pínlǜfùcí de yòngfǎ】) 常常, 经常and往往【chángcháng, jīngcháng and wǎngwǎng】for comparison.

    4. Give similar sentences of usages of Mandarin Chinese adverbs of frequency (频率副词的用法【pínlǜfùcí de yòngfǎ】) 常常, 经常and 往往【chángcháng, jīngcháng and wǎngwǎng】when they are interchangeable.

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    I.Examples of (频率副词的用法【pínlǜfùcí de yòngfǎ】) 常常, 经常【chángcháng=often, jīngcháng=often】

    Mandarin Chinese adverb of frequency (频率副词【pínlǜfùcí】) 常常【chángcháng=often】or 经常【jīngcháng=often】can be used interchangeably to express ‘often’ or ‘high frequency’.

    a. Mandarin Chinese adverb of frequency (频率副词【pínlǜfùcí】) 常常【chángcháng=often】or 经常【jīngcháng=often】is used for something happens often with many times and there is no requirement to describe a condition or result related to the action.

    Example 1:

    He often goes to the library.

    他【tā=he】 常常【chángcháng=often】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    他 常常 去 图书馆。

    Or

    他【tā=he】 经常【jīngcháng=often】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    他 经常 去 图书馆。

    Example 2: (with the condition)

    He often goes to the library on Friday morning.

    他【tā=he】 常常【chángcháng=often】 周五【zhōuwǔ=Friday】 早上【zǎoshàng=morning】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    (周五【zhōuwǔ=Friday】 早上【zǎoshàng=morning】 is the condition)

    他 常常 周五 早上 去 图书馆。

    Or

    他【tā=he】 经常【jīngcháng=often】 周五【zhōuwǔ=Friday】早上【zǎoshàng=morning】去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    他 经常 周五 早上 去 图书馆。

    b. Mandarin Chinese adverb of frequency (频率副词【pínlǜfùcí】)常常【chángcháng=often】or 经常【jīngcháng=often】can be used to express someone’s (subjective) hope, wish, or thought, whereas 往往【wǎngwǎng=often】cannot.

    常常【chángcháng】or 经常【jīngcháng】can be also used in the future tense, whereas 往往【wǎngwǎng】cannot.

    Example:

    We hope you can often visit us in the future.

    我们【wǒmén=we】 希望【xīwàng=wish, hope】 你【nǐ=you】 以后【yǐhòu=in the future】 能【néng=can】 常常【chángcháng=often】 来【lái=come】 看看【kàn kàn=visit】。

    我们 希望 你 以后 能 常常 来 看看。

    Or

    我们【wǒmén=we】 希望【xīwàng=wish, hope】 你【nǐ=you】 以后【yǐhòu=in the future】 能【néng=can】 经常【jīngcháng=often】来【lái=come】 看看【kàn kàn=visit】。

    我们 希望 你 以后 能 经常 来 看看。

    c. The negative form of Mandarin Chinese adverb of frequency (频率副词【pínlǜfùcí】)常常【chángcháng=often】 is 不常常【bù chángcháng】 and 经常【jīngcháng=often】is 不经常【bù jīngcháng】.

    Example:

    He doesn’t often go to the library.

    他【tā=he】 不【bù=not】 常常【chángcháng=often】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    他 不 常常 去 图书馆。

    Or

    他【tā=he】 不【bù=not】 经常【jīngcháng=often】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    他 不 经常 去 图书馆。

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    II.Examples of (频率副词的用法【pínlǜfùcí de yòngfǎ】) 往往【wǎngwǎng=often】

    Mandarin Chinese adverb of frequency (频率副词【pínlǜfùcí】) 往往【wǎngwǎng=often】is considered to be more formal than 常常【chángcháng=often】or 经常【jīngcháng=often】.

    a. Mandarin Chinese adverb of frequency (频率副词【pínlǜfùcí】)往往【wǎngwǎng=often】is used for something happens often with regularity and the condition or result will be always clearly described in the sentence. 往往【wǎngwǎng】is also most used in the past tense.

    Example 1:

    Previously, he often went to the library on Friday morning.

    以前【yǐqián=previously】 他【tā=he】 往往【wǎngwǎng=often】 周五【zhōuwǔ=Friday】 早上【zǎoshàng=morning】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。(周五【zhōuwǔ=Friday】 早上【zǎoshàng=morning】is the condition)

    以前 他 往往 周五 早上 去 图书馆。

    Example 2:

    After each time go home, younger brother often sleeps as soon as possible.

    弟弟【dìdi=younger brother】往往【wǎngwǎng=often】 一【yī=each time, every time】 回家【huíjiā=go home, homeward】 就【jiù=as soon as】 睡觉【shuìjiào=sleep】。(睡觉【shuìjiào】is the result)

    弟弟 往往 一 回家 就 睡觉。

    b. Mandarin Chinese adverb of frequency (频率副词【pínlǜfùcí】) 往往【wǎngwǎng】doesn’t have a negative form, but instead of, it uses不【bù=not】 or 没【méi=not】in front of the verb in the negate sentence.

    Example:

    He doesn’t often go to the library on Friday morning.

    他【tā=he】 往往【wǎngwǎng=often】 周五【zhōuwǔ=Friday】 早上【zǎoshàng=morning】 不【bù=not】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    他 往往 周五 早上 不 去 图书馆。

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    III. Examples of (频率副词的用法【pínlǜfùcí de yòngfǎ】) 常常, 经常and往往【chángcháng, jīngcháng and wǎngwǎng】for Comparison.

    Example 1:

    He often goes to the library.

    他【tā=he】 常常【chángcháng=often】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    他 常常 去 图书馆。

    Or

    他【tā=he】 经常【jīngcháng=often】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    他 经常 去 图书馆。

    Compared that with example 2:

    Previously he often went to the library on Friday morning.

    以前【yǐqián=previously】 他【tā=he】 往往【wǎngwǎng=often】 周五【zhōuwǔ=Friday】 早上【zǎoshàng=morning】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    以前 他 往往 周 早上 去 图书馆。

    Example 3:

    He doesn’t often go to the library.

    他【tā=he】不【bù=not】常常【chángcháng=often】去【qù=go】图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    他 不 常常 去 图书馆。

    Or

    他【tā=he】不【bù=not】经常【jīngcháng=often】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    他 不 经常 去 图书馆。

    Compared that with example 4:

    He doesn’t often go to the library on Friday morning.

    他【tā=he】 往往【wǎngwǎng=often】 周五【zhōuwǔ=Friday】 早上【zǎoshàng=morning】 不【bù=not】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    他 往往 周五 早上 不 去 图书馆。

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    IV. (频率副词的用法【pínlǜfùcí de yòngfǎ】) 常常, 经常and 往往【chángcháng, jīngcháng and wǎngwǎng】When they are Interchangeable

    Mandarin Chinese adverbs of frequency (频率副词【pínlǜfùcí】) 常常, 经常and 往往【chángcháng, jīngcháng and wǎngwǎng】are interchangeable when the condition or result are clearly described in the sentence.

    Example 1

    He often goes to the library on Friday morning.

    他【tā=he】 常常【chángcháng=often】 周五【zhōuwǔ=Friday】 早上【zǎoshàng=morning】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    (周五【zhōuwǔ=Friday】 早上【zǎoshàng=morning】 is the condition)

    他 常常 周五 早上 去 图书馆。

    Or

    他【tā=he】 经常【jīngcháng=often】 周五【zhōuwǔ=Friday】 早上【zǎoshàng=morning】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。

    他 经常 周五 早上 去 图书馆。

    Compared that with example 2:

    He often goes to the library on Friday morning.

    他【tā=he】 往往【wǎngwǎng=often】 周五【zhōuwǔ=Friday】 早上【zǎoshàng=morning】 去【qù=go】 图书馆【túshūguǎn=library】。(周五【zhōuwǔ=Friday】 早上【zǎoshàng=morning】 is the condition)

    他 往往 周五 早上 去 图书馆。

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