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他说,当公司总经理从他身旁经过时,总会不时地赞美他“你扫的地真干净“。

It seems I have 总 ‘always‘ and 不时 ‘occasionally' or 'often' together.

Does the 总经理 always or occasionally laud said sweeper? Or is it 'on all occasions'??

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You need to consider 总会 together:

ABC

be bound to; be inevitable; be sure to happen

总会 + 不时 = be sure to + often = he is bound to frequently.../he is sure to often...

ABC calls 总会, here, a:

Verb Phrase

Dòngcí Cízǔ 动词词组

This includes

(i) descriptive predicates that do not behave as stative verbs, e.g., ǎirán ‘amicable; amiable’, as well as

(ii) phrases and longer chunks containing a verb that are not fixed expressions, e.g., bǎiláibǎiqù ‘sway; waver’, áidào tiānhēi ‘bear up until nightfall’.

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  • Thanks. However, I would never write 'he is bound to frequently'. How about just 'He often praises him' – Pedroski Mar 16 '15 at 22:20
  • In English we could say "He is sure to praise him often/frequently." – Ming Mar 17 '15 at 1:53
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Question 5 was: 清洁工为什么要和小偷搏斗? Answer C: 公司经理经常夸奖他。

总会不时 = 经常。

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  • No, 总会不时 != 经常. – user4072 Mar 17 '15 at 2:21
  • 就是什么?你能提个建议吗?谢谢! – Pedroski Mar 17 '15 at 2:25
  • Have you seen @user3306356's answer? – user4072 Mar 17 '15 at 6:46
  • Yes, I read it. It says 'He is sure to often'. This is not good English because of the opposing meanings of 'sure to' and 'often'. Maybe this makes sense in Chinese, but not in English. Recently I had a similar use of opposing meanings with '力量薄弱‘。 Maybe this is a Chinese thing which cannot be put into English. – Pedroski Mar 17 '15 at 22:20
  • Sorry my English is not good, but 总会不时 really makes sense in Chinese. For your example, the manager may meet the cleaner five times every month, and he may praise only once among them, so it is 不时. But he keeps this kind of action for many months, so it is 总会. BTW: 力量薄弱 does not have opposing meanings, it just means strenth/power is insufficient. Maybe you think 力量 means powerful, but it just means strenth/power, while 有力量/力量大 means powerful. – user4072 Mar 18 '15 at 1:36
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First of all, I don't like the Chinese sentence in your question, because I consider it poorly organized. It sounds to me like being said by a janitor who didn't receive much education.

If you translate "总是" into "always", I'm sure you'll get confused. If you translate "总是" into "regularly" or "usually", it reduces the confusion.

Chinese are likely to overuse the word "总是"。For example, in the last month, Xiao Zhang was late for work for 16 days out of the 22 work days. Then his boss may complain:

最近小张总是迟到。

We all know there were at least 8 days that Xiao Zhang came to work on time. So logically "总是" is not appropriately used in this scenario. However, most Chinese native speakers speak this way, and it is one of the language habits that confuse Chinese learners.

Hopefully my post doesn't cause more confusion.

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  • 谢谢,只是没有‘总是’有‘总会’ – Pedroski Mar 17 '15 at 2:22

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