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What is the difference between 早 and 早晨. I hear people say 早晨好 sometimes.

Does it refer to a different time in the day, it both say morning in my dictionary.

Thank you.

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1  
dialect thing. 早晨 is preferred in Cantonese. 早/早上好 is preferred in Mandarin (mainland). And 早安 is more often heard in Taiwan. –  Stan May 23 at 0:47
    
@Stan I've also heard 你早 from a Chinese teacher born & raised in 哈尔滨. Do you know if this is common, or Northern regional, or just plain uncommon? –  Ming May 23 at 1:58
    
@Ming I think it's common in Northern / Northeastern China (I've been in Shenyang for several years). And it only sounds right in Mandarin or Mandarin-like dialect to me. BTW, in my own experience, it seems "你早" isn't often used by young people -- I don't know why. –  Stan May 23 at 5:56
    
@Stan ahh yeah I haven't heard it really from many people. Thanks :) –  Ming May 25 at 23:56

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

早 is not morning, it means "early" in general. 我早知道了!吃早饭。

早上 is morning in general. 早上好!

早晨 is also morning, but earlier, at daybreak, in the very early morning hours.

The day is divided into twelve 时辰, where 寅时 is before dawn, the 凌晨.

Then comes the 卯时 between 5 and 7, the 黎明, the dawn.

辰时 is the next two hour period between 7 and 9, the 早晨.

After 9 is 上午, but 早上 refers to the greater morning period in general.

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While means "early", it can however be used as a morning greeting, presumably as a shortened form of 早上好 –  Cocowalla May 23 at 8:57

To answer you question, the difference between 早 and 早晨 is

早 means early by itself, however, in this case 早 means early part of the day, which is morning! In Chinese it is rarely to use just one character to convey an idea, so 早上 (upper part of the daytime) is used to mean morning.

早晨 means the time between early morning (凌晨 00:00-06:00) and morning (早上06:00-11:00),so around 06:00 - 08:00.

Actually there is not a official cut off point for each period of the day, the definition above is based on me being a native speaker for more than 30 years.

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