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gāng
adv. just now, newly; just
Discussion of 刚/剛
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1. 刚 refers to "not long ago before an event happens" as opposed to "a long time ago". Please note that this meaning of "not long ago" is highly subjective, and it depends on the speaker himself. For example:
Example 1: 我原来住在英国,刚来中国不久。 [phr] I formerly lived in the UK; (I) just came to China not long ago.
In example 1, "not long ago" might be a few days ago, or one week ago, or two months ago, or... It depends on the speaker.
* Attention: In example 1, 刚 cannot be replaced by 刚才 (for more information, check out the notes on 刚才).

2. 刚 is an adverb, and it can only be the adverbial adjunct of a sentence, unlike 刚才 which can also be attributive or the subject in a sentence.

For more information, check out the notes on 刚才 and 刚刚.
lisaC
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