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Both words express the meaning "just" or "just now" in time. For example,

我刚刚回家了。

我刚刚吃饭了。

In these cases, should I use 刚刚 or 刚才? Is there any difference and/or which one sounds more natural?

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    刚刚 = 刚才 (here, 刚 = 才) ≠ 刚刚才 (here, 刚 ≠ 才) – SLS Jul 14 '17 at 12:12
  • differences between 刚,刚刚,刚才:"实用汉语近义虚词词典" 刚(副)/刚刚(副),刚才(名) [相同] 都作状语,表示行动或情况发生在不久以前。都可以用在主语之后,有时可以互换,"刚刚"更强调时间离现在近:(1)我刚给她寄了封信。(刚刚✓刚才✓)(2)班长刚才去办公室了。(刚✓刚刚✓)(3)张平刚刚接了一个电话。(刚✓刚才✓) [不同] 1。 作状语时,"刚才"可以放在主语前,后面还可以有逗号;"刚刚"有时也可以在主语前,但较少;"刚"只能放在主语后:(1)她刚去了一趟医院。(刚才✓刚刚✓)(2)刚才我太忙了,没时间根你打招呼。(刚刚✓刚✗ )(3)刚才你在做什么?(刚刚✓刚✗ )(4)刚才,李明在路上碰见陆老师了。(刚✗ 刚刚✗ )(5)刚才,一个人从这里跑过去了。(刚✗ 刚刚✗ ) 2。 "刚才"可以放在形容词短语前,"刚、刚刚"不能:(1)刚才很困,现在有点精神了。(刚✗ 刚刚✗ )(2)刚才太累了,倘在沙发上就睡觉了。(刚✗ 刚刚✗ )(3)我刚才太激动,忘了问他的名字了。(刚✗ 刚刚✗ ) – user6065 Jul 14 '17 at 15:29
  • 3。 "刚、刚刚"常用在复句的前一分句,表示前后两个行为、情况紧接着发生,相隔时间很短,后一分句常有"就";"刚才"没有这样的用法:(1)他刚刚上车,车就开了。(刚✓刚才✗ )(2)我刚刚下楼,外面就开始下大雨了。(刚✓刚才✗ )(3)你怎么刚回来就又要走?(刚刚✓刚才✗ )(4)我刚进门电话铃就响了。(刚刚✓刚才✗ ) 4。 "刚才"后面可以有否定词"不、没","刚、刚刚"不能:(1)你为什么刚才不买?现在买不到了。(刚✗刚刚✗)(2)你刚才不打电话,现在人家都下班了。(刚✗刚刚✗)(3)我刚才没看见小张。(刚✗刚刚✗) 5。 "刚才"可以作定语或阶词的宾语,"刚、刚刚"只能作状语:(1)刚才的晚会很精彩。(刚✗刚刚✗)(2)他很快就把刚才的事忘了。(刚✗刚刚✗)(3)打完针以后比刚才好多了。(刚✗刚刚✗) 6。 "刚、刚刚"还表示勉强达到某一数量或程度,"刚才"没有这个用法:(1)他刚学会几句汉语,你就让他读这么长的文章?(刚刚✓刚才✗) (2)这点钱刚刚够买一张票。(刚✓刚才✗) (3)玛丽个子不高,刚刚到麦克肩膀。(刚✓刚才✗) – user6065 Jul 14 '17 at 15:35
  • comment #2 有别字。 其实第五行,倒数第二字需要代之以"跟"这个字。该错字太糟糕了,因为甚至IME输入法编辑器给gen的第一选项就是"跟"。 – user6065 Jul 14 '17 at 19:47
  • No Significant difference. Like "lots" and "a lot" in English – Kevman Jul 15 '17 at 5:05
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刚 itself already means 'just' (adverb- only a very short time before)

Example: "你回家,現在又要出去?" (you've just came home, now you have to go out again?)

刚刚 is a reduplication of 刚.

Example: "你刚刚回家,現在又要出去?" (you've just came home, now you have to go out again?)

Reduplication makes the descriptive feeling of the adjective stronger.

'才' itself also carries the meaning of 'just' (adverb- only a very short time before) like '刚' does.

Example: "你回家,現在又要出去?" (you've just came home, now you have to go out again?)

Put two characters with similar meaning together and create a compound word can remove ambiguity. It is very common in coining Chinese words . For example: Both 刚 and 才 carry other meanings, (刚 also means 'hard'; 才 also means 'talent') but '刚才' can only mean 'just'.

In summary:

  • '刚才' is a compound word made up of '刚' and '才'. It still means 'just'

  • '刚刚' is a reduplication of '刚' It still means 'just' but carries a stronger emphasis (more immediate sense) than just a single syllable '刚' or '刚才'

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Both means the same, but which one sounds more natural depends on what the questioner uses.

if they ask:

刚刚去哪了?

you answer with:

刚刚回家了。

if they ask:

刚才去哪了?

you answer with:

刚才回家了。

Of course, it's not wrong to answer 刚刚 with 刚才, it's not that big of a deal, both works, just a matter of preference really.

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  • Thanks but in that case does the answere bother to repeating it? Sounds to me just answering "回家了" is natural. – Blaszard Jul 14 '17 at 4:55
  • Yes, normally we do repeat it, if you don't repeat it and just say 回家了, it sounds like you are upset at something and don't want to talk. Of course, if the questioner asks 去哪了? you can just answer 回家了, it sounds more colloquial, normally between close friends, rarely we answer with 回家了, but it works as well. – Mindless Jul 14 '17 at 4:58
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  1. 刚 - means just or limitation marker
  2. 刚刚 - means just-only. I mean it is a reduplication of just so as to stress that something really-really just happend. This is usual practice in some languages. For example in Russian: только только(刚刚) вошёл сюда(entered here).
  3. 才 - means barely or nessesary marker. 你才回家,現在又要出去. You have barely returned home, already you go?
  4. 就 - means already or sufficient marker
  5. 刚才 - means "just barely" or "just now" (where "now" works as a substitute for "barely"). Just happend and only then
  6. 刚就 - means "just (happend) but already (smth)".

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