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During my last Chinese tandem, me and my study partner translated several sentences. It rather confused me than it helped. There arose three main questions:

  1. How do you express “how many times” and “how often” in Chinese? How many times asks for a precise answer to frequency, numerically supported. “How often” can be answered vaguely.

  2. How does one express “how long”? This can be answered in either way.

  3. Are the following sentences translated correctly? If not, what is the correct word order and translation?

你多久去游泳? How long do you swim?

你每周多少次去游 永? How often a week do you go swimming?

你每周去游几次 永? How many times a week do you go swimming?

你每天去游泳吗? Do you go swimming every day?

你每天去多久游泳? How long do you swim everyday?

你每个小时休息几次? How many times a hour do you take a break?

你每个小时多少分钟 休息?How many minutes an hour do you rest?

你每个小时休息多长时间. How often an hour do you rest?

你多久休息. How long do you rest?

我 一小时 休息三次。 I rest three times an hour.

  • 1
    complements of duration (frequency) follow verbs (adverbials precede verbs) e.g. 你去游泳多久? adverbial e.g.: 你多久没有去游泳呢? – user6065 Apr 11 '17 at 13:21
  • users may object that 次 indicating frequency may occur before the verb, e.g. (jukuu): 今夜鸡叫以前,你要三次不认我。 该队连续三次获胜。 – user6065 Apr 11 '17 at 13:37
  • '一小时三次' (three times in an hour) is a frequency because it has a occurrence per time ratio (3 times / 1 hour); '你要三次不认我' and '连续三次获胜' only describe the total number of occurrences within an undefined time period. In this case, the complement can be placed before or after the verb '你要不认我三次' and 连续获胜三次' are equally correct in your example sentences. – Tang Ho Apr 13 '17 at 6:58
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How do you express “how many times” and “how often” in Chinese? How many times asks for a precise answer to frequency, numerically supported. “How often” can be answered vaguely.

  • 'how many times?' is '多少次?' or '几次?'
  • 'how often' is '有多經常?'

How does one express “how long”? This can be answered in either way.

'how long' is ' 多久'

1.你多久去游泳? How long do you swim?

你游泳游多久? How long do you swim?

*'你游泳' is the topic

*'游多久' is the comment

2.你每周多少次去游泳? How often a week do you go swimming?

你每周有多經常去游泳? How often a week do you swim?

*多少次? means 'how many times?'

*多經常? means 'how often?'

3.你每周去游几次泳? How many times a week do you go swimming?

This one is grammatically correct. You can replace '几次?' with '多少次?'

4.你每天去游泳吗? Do you go swimming every day?

This one is grammatically correct. You can omit 去 and write '你每天游泳吗?' (do you swim everyday?) or you can replace '去' with '都' and write '你每天都游泳吗?'

5.你每天去多久游泳? How long do you swim everyday?

你每天游泳游多久? How long do you swim everyday?

6.你每个小时休息几次? How many times a hour do you take a break?

This one is grammatically correct. You can omit the classifier 个 and just write '你每小时休息几次?'

7.你每个小时多少分钟休息?How many minutes an hour do you rest?

你每个小时休息多少分钟?How many minutes an hour do you rest?

8.你每个小时休息多长时间. How often an hour do you rest?

你每小时有多經常休息?. How often an hour do you rest?

*Again, 'How often' is '有多經常'; '多长时间' is 'how long (of time)?'

9.你多久休息. How long do you rest?

你休息多久? How long do you rest?

10.我一小时休息三次。 I rest three times an hour.

This one is grammatically correct.

user6065 wrote:

complements of duration (frequency) follow verbs 

That's the reason in Chinese:

  • '一小时多久(how long)休息(rest)' is incorrect.
  • '一小时休息(rest for)多久(how long)' is correct.

  • '一小时三次(three times)休息(rest)' is incorrect.

  • '一小时休息(rest)三次(three times)' is correct.

user6065 wrote:

(adverbials precede verbs) 

That's the reason in Chinese:

  • '經常(often)休息(rest)' is correct.
  • '休息(rest)經常(often)' is incorrect.
  • Thank you.. I find this answer exceptionally helpful, probably not only for me, but also for others in the future. – Imago Apr 11 '17 at 18:20

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