I've been listening to a great mandarin podcast recently called "imandarinpod". At the beginning of every podcast the host says something like this "谢谢大家按时收听我们的节目“。 I've looked up the translation of 按时 (an4shi2) and it comes out to be something like "On Time". However, I'm not entirely sure if that makes sense in this context (especially since it is a podcast).

Can anyone give me an idea of what 按时收听 really means?

3 Answers 3


An example of 按时's usage will be like:
按时服药 - take medicine on time

Where 按时 refers to being on time periodically. In your case, the podcast might be on-air every night at certain time, thus using 按时. However a better translation for will be:

  • 1
    +1 for being broadly correct, but 按时 just means "on time" - there's no "periodically" component in there. It is perfectly okay to use it for one time events, e.g. 按时还车 - "return the car on time."
    – Semaphore
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 20:19
  • @Semaphore thanks, I was trying to differentiate between 按时 & 准时, i.e. we will never say arrive on time as 按时到达
    – Alex
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 20:23
  • Umm, lots of people say 按时到达...
    – Semaphore
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 20:27
  • 1
    @Semaphore Oh hm...maybe i know why now, Cantonese / Mandarian
    – Alex
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 20:28

按时收听 literally means to listen on time.

Basically as @Alex mentioned 按时+Verb/Verb phrase means do something on time and often used imperatively.

Since phrases like 按时收听、按时收看 are widely used in broadcasting, Their equivalents would be "stay tuned".


"按時" has (at least) two components:

  1. Explicit - according to timetable
  2. Implicit - should be done accordingly for one's own sake

That's why we say "按時服藥" (for medicine), "按時進餐" (for meal), etc. Radio programmes are unlikely to fulfill Point 2. Hence, as Alex said, we will simply say "準時", or better, "天天準時" if it is a daily programme.

BTW, "天天" emphasizes on repetition whilst "每天" emphasizes on "no skipping". e.g. "天天服藥" and "每天服藥" have slightly different meanings.

  • Henry if a group of people got together every week to play frisbee at the same time would you say they "按时玩飞盘?“
    – Stephen
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 22:28
  • Yes, only if their career is professional frisbee player and they need to practise it strictly according to timetable. For other cases, I will say "準時".
    – Henry HO
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 2:05
  • But does 准时 imply on time? or does it imply that it is regular. What if all of these frisbee players come each week but a lot of them happen to be late?
    – Stephen
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 11:17
  • "準時" is on time. "天天準時" is "daily"+"on time". If most of them are not punctual, we can say "...逄星期X都在X時左右一起玩飛碟".
    – Henry HO
    Commented Aug 4, 2014 at 13:28

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