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píng shí
n. ordinary times, normal times, usual days; time of peace
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平时 is a noun in Chinese, although in the English translation we put it as an adverb. Here are some explanations if you are interested:

- In the Chinese language, nouns can become the adverbial adjunct of the sentence. For example:
她平时喜欢打网球。 [phr] She usually likes playing tennis.

- Proof that 平时 is a noun (instead of an adverb): please look at this sentence:

我平时的成绩太差了,所以期末考得再好也没用。 / 我平時的成績太差了,所以期末考得再好也沒用。 [wo3 ping2 shi2 de5 cheng2 ji4 tai4 cha4 le5 , suo3 yi3 qi1 mo4 kao3 de5 zai4 hao3 ye3 mei2 yong4] , (phr) My academic performance during the semester is too bad, therefore, no matter how well I score in the final exams, it won't make any difference.

In the sentence above, 平时 is used as a modifier for a noun (成绩). Adverbs, on the contrary, can not be used to modify nouns.

Other examples may include, 平时的 a noun, e.g.平时的零用钱 / 平時的零用錢 [ping2 shi2 de5 ling2 yong4 qian2] , (phr) pocket money in ordinary time

平时的零用钱 is said as opposed to 零用钱 during an unusual time. To be more specific, when we say 平时的零用钱, we are usually comparing it (directly or between the lines) with the pocket money received during holiday, for example.
lisaC
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In this post, let's take a look at these three words; 平时, 平常 and 一般:

Bear in mind that in the Chinese languages, unlike English, different words (or even phrases) can serve as an adverbial adjunct in a sentence, e.g. adverbs, nouns, adjectives, verbs, pronouns, etc. Now let's a look at these three words one by one:

平时 is a noun and it has two meanings:
1. [noun] ordinary times, normal times, usual days
Examples:
- 到了旺季的时候,公园的门票会比平时贵。 [phr] When then busy season arrives, the ticket prices of parks will be more expensive than usual.
- 她平时喜欢打网球。 [phr] She usually likes playing tennis.
2. [noun] time of peace (as opposed to times during a war)
Example:平时编制 [phr] peacetime establishment, peacetime organization

平常 can be an adjective or a noun:
1. [adj.] ordinary, common; mediocre, average
Examples:
- 昨天是很平常的一天。 [phr] Yesterday was quite an ordinary day.
- 她的能力很平常。 [phr] Her ability is quite average.
2. [noun] normal/ordinary times, usual days
Examples:
- 跟平常比起来,买东西真的比较划算。 [phr] Compared to the usual days, it's indeed quite worthwhile to buy things (now).
- 像平常一样 [phr] as usual
- 你平常有没有规律运动? [phr] Do you always do sports regularly?

* Let's first compare 平时 and 平常. Both being nouns indicating time, 平时-1 and 平常-2 and interchangeable:
- They can both be used after a preposition forming a prepositional phrase.
Examples:
- 跟平常比起来/ 跟平时比起来
- 像平常一样/ 像平常一样
- 比平时贵/ 比平常贵
- They can both appear in a sentence as an adverbial adjunct.
Examples:
- 她平时喜欢打网球。/ 她平常喜欢打网球。
- 你平常有没有规律运动?/ 你平时有没有规律运动?

一般 is a numeral and an adjective:
1. [num] one kind
Example: 别有一般滋味 [phr] to have some indescribable taste
2. [adj.] ordinary, common, general; same as, just like
Examples:
- 那个人的相貌很一般。 [phr] That person has a plain face.
- 宛如天堂一般 [phr] just like paradise
- 我们一般早上八点来上班。 [phr] We usually come to work at eight o'clock.

* Note that because 一般-2 is an adjective, it cannot be used interchangeably with 平时-1 and 平常-2 in prepositional phrases (= phrase consisting of a preposition and its object):
Examples: we can use 平常 or 平时 in these phrases below, but we cannot use 一般:
- 跟平常比起来/ 跟平时比起来
- 像平常一样/ 像平常一样
- 比平时贵/ 比平常贵

When used as adverbial adjuncts in a sentence, 一般-2, 平时-1 and 平常-2 are kind of different in the emphasis in meanings. 平时-1 and 平常-2 emphasize on "ordinary times, usual days". 一般-2 simply simply means "generally, usually".
lisaC
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