Chinese Temporal Phrases: A Guide to Expressing Time Duration and Frequency

Chinese language study offers a variety of fascinating linguistic elements. The way time is expressed is one notable feature. Understanding the fundamentals of saying duration and frequency are crucial for mastering time expressions in Chinese. This guide thoroughly introduces Chinese temporal expressions together with the associated Pinyin pronunciations.

Expressing Time Duration

When expressing duration in Chinese, one of the basic structures is using “了(le)” at the end of a sentence to describe the completion of an action. However, when it comes to duration, “了(le)” is also used in conjunction with time phrases. Here are a few examples:

我学习中文两年了。Wǒ xuéxí zhōngwén liǎng nián le.- (I have been studying Chinese for two years.)

他在北京工作了五个月了。Tā zài Běijīng gōngzuòle wǔ gè yuè le. – (He has been working in Beijing for five months.)

Expressing Frequency

The Chinese language uses several words to express frequency. Here are some common words and phrases:

常常/经常 (chángcháng/jīngcháng): often

有时候 (yǒushíhou): sometimes

总是 (zǒng shì): always

从不/从来不 (cóng bù / cóng lái bù): never

Here are some example sentences:

我常常去图书馆。Wǒ chángcháng qù túshū guǎn.-(I often go to the library.)

他有时候喝咖啡。Tā yǒushíhou hē kāfēi. – (He sometimes drinks coffee.)

我总是早起。Wǒ zǒng shì zǎo qǐ. -(I always wake up early.)

他从不迟到。Tā cóng bù chídào.- (He never arrives late.)

heart g0dae26b95 1280

Weekly and Monthly Expressions

Chinese temporal expressions also include weekly and monthly frequency terms.

每天 (měitiān): every day

每周/每星期 (měi zhōu/měi xīngqī): every week

每月 (měi yuè): every month

每年 (měi nián): every year

For example:

我每天运动。Wǒ měitiān yùndòng. – (I exercise every day.)

我们每周见一次面。Wǒmen měi zhōu jiàn yīcì miàn. – (We meet once every week.)

她每月去一次书店。Tā měi yuè qù yīcì shūdiàn.- (She goes to the bookstore once every month.)

In Chinese, if you want to emphasize the regularity of action, you can use “每(měi)” (every) before the time word, followed by the action.


Chinese temporal phrase mastery adds a new level of complexity and adaptability to your talks. You’ll be able to communicate more complexly and interact with others as you gain comprehension and practice. You may express past, present, and future activities using a combination of time duration and frequency, adding depth to your conversation and improving your overall grasp of the Mandarin language.

REGISTER for our SUMMER CAMP in 2023!

Learn about our Internship Program in China.

Learn about holidays in China in 2023.

Get free Chinese learning resources.

Sign up for a free trial class here.

Sign up for classes here.

Learn more about our Chinese Summer Camp for Children here.

Learn about our Internship Program in China.

Get free Chinese learning resources.

Learn about China’s 2024 Offical Holiday Schedule

Ønsker du en gratis prøveklasse? Registrer deg!

Bli med på en gratis prøveklasse i kinesisk!

Do you want a Free Trial Chinese Class? Register now!

Join a Free Trial Chinese Class!