次 Expressing Frequency

Measure word 次 (cì) is often used to express frequency in Chinese. There are 3 main ways to use it.

1. Specified Frequency (Which time?)

To express specified frequency, 次 tells you on which occasion something happened. When used this way, 次 usually follows a Specifier (+ Number).

S SP NU V-O,
shànɡ jiàndào tā, shì sānniánqián.
见到 他, 是 三年前。

The last time I saw him, it was 3 years ago.

měi qí zìxínɡchē, dōu dài ěrjī.
骑 自行车, 都 戴 耳机。

Every time he rides a bicycle, he will wear a headset.

ɡēn nǚshēnɡ biǎobái, hěn jǐnzhānɡ.
跟 女生 表白, 很 紧张。

I was very nervous when I confess to girls for the first time.

2. Unspecified Frequency (How many times?)

To express unspecified frequency, 次tells you how many times something happened. When used this way, 次 usually follows a Number.

Topic S V (过) NU N
lǐ lǎoshī qùɡuò liǎnɡ běijīnɡ.
李老师 去过 北京。

Li Laoshi has been to Beijing twice.

yǐjīnɡ láiɡuò sān cì le.
已经 来过 次了。

She has been here three times.

zhè jiàn shìqínɡ ɡàosu ɡuò nǐ hěnduō cì le!
这 件 事情 告诉过 你 很多 次 了!

About this matter, I have told you many times!

3. Frequency with a Period of Time (How often?)

When used with a period of time, 次 tells you how often something happens within a particular period of time.

S Period V NU Measure (次) N
ɡēɡe měizhōu yóuyǒnɡ sān cì.
哥哥 每周 游泳 次。

(My) brother goes to swimming three times a week.

měitiān liǎnɡ bāo niúnǎi.
每天 牛奶。

I drink three bags of milk a day.

jǐtiān zǎo?
几天 澡?

How often do you take a shower?

yuēhàn yíɡè xīnɡqī shànɡ sān hànyǔkè.
约翰 一个星期 汉语课。

John takes three Chinese lessons per week.

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