The words are used to express that the action occurs in general(一般), often(经常), and is done regularly(习惯), Is this true? should they therefore always come directly before the verb or are there instances(like when using time)when they don't? For example for 习惯: a)我习惯早上吃饭。 b)我早上习惯吃饭。

1 Answer 1


Let's go through them in order, and welcome (๑>◡<๑)

一般 Perfect example of how a chinese term is usually not used the exact same way as its english translation, and vise versa. 一般 does mean in general, but in the sense of "not specific" or "the most common version/form". It may be that I am having a momentary loss, but I can't think of anyway it would be tied to the verb or time period directly in these uses. If you have something specific in mind for this please comment below and I will clarify. For now lets move on.

經常 is indeed a very common word, maybe one of the first vocab people learn starting out. As an adverb it means very regularly/frequently. This use follows normal adverb grammar and doesn't have any special rules. Some examples: 經常挨宰 frequently overpay \\ 經常洗冷水澡 regularly take cold baths. You can see just normal grammar, note it isn't impossible to combine this with a time period like summer or today or tuesday..... but it would usually be kinda weird. Afterall if something only happens on tuesday or one a month or today, that isn't very frequent or long term is it? If it does make sense in context no grammatical issue at all to combine that.

Note 經常 itself cane be a time word, meaning daily. in that way its an adjective and follows adjective grammar.

習慣 is more specific, and is either a verb or a noun (habit as a noun and accustomed/used to as a verb). Things that are habits, things that you are used to, those do happen frequently or regularly. However they are inherently different at the core, and the grammatical use is different too. examples are 抽煙的習慣 smoking habit (noun)\\已經習慣了 already used to it (verb)

So I can see how you would think these terms are similar just from the english translations, but hope it is more clear now how different they are. When learning a new language, direct translation of terms needs to be supplemented with the sentence structures and examples to know its accurate use. The example I use all the time is the word "light". We really take this little term for granted in english, you need at least a dozen chinese terms to cover all the english meanings. That is another example of how knowing the use of the chinese term would make sure it is the correct "light", and not one that is only lamps or only starting a fire...... _(:з」∠)_

  • Thanks so much, I got the gist of it
    – Jay
    Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 6:46

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