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赶紧
gǎn jǐn
adv. on the spot, immediately, rush to do something, right away
Discussion of 赶紧/趕緊
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赶紧 can be used on something that has happened (E.g.1) or something that is going to happen at the time of speaking (E.g. 2).
E.g. 1 他听说自己犯了法,就赶紧逃走了。 [phr] He fled immediately on hearing that he broke the law.
E.g. 2 别再罗唆了,赶紧工作吧。 [phr] Stop your prolixity and get to work at once.
It can be used on something that can be decided/controlled, but please note that it cannot be used on something that is beyond one’s control. In E.g. 1 and 2, the action of “fleeing away” and “get to work” can be controlled by person who does the action. In other words, the subject can decide whether to “flee” or “get to work”. In E.g. 3 below, we cannot replace the adverb 马上with 赶紧. Because“sunset” is part of the nature. No matter what we do, we cannot prevent the sun from setting. Therefore the sun setting is something that is beyond one’s control and we cannot use 赶紧 in E.g.3.
E.g. 3 看着太阳马上(X 赶紧)要下山了,我不由得加快了步伐。 [phr] Noticing that the sun had almost set, I couldn't help quickening my footsteps.

Your may also read our notes on 马上, 一下子 and 连忙 to find out their differences.
lisaC
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In this post we discuss the difference between 立刻 and 赶紧

1. 立刻 is used in written Chinese. It indicates that something happens very fast right after an action or event (1a), or that something is going to happen right away at the time of speaking (1b). It emphasizes the short time. The subject of 立刻 is not necessarily a person (1c).
E.g.1a 地震发生后,军队立刻前去救灾。 [phr] Right after the earthquake, the army rushed there to rescue the victims.
E.g.1b 只要你同意,我就立刻过去。 [phr] As long as you agree, I'll go there right away.
E.g.1c 若机舱内有人吸烟,报警器会立刻响起。 [phr] If someone smokes in the cabin of the plane, the alarm will sound off right away.


赶紧 is more informal. We use 赶紧 in spoken Chinese a lot. It can be used on something that has happened (1d) or something that is going to happen at the time of speaking (1e). It emphasizes “wasting no time”. The subject of 赶紧 has to be a person. In 1c, we cannot use 赶紧 to replace 立刻.
E.g. 1d 他听说自己犯了法,就赶紧逃走了。 [phr] He fled immediately on hearing that he broke the law.
E.g. 1e 别再罗唆了,赶紧工作吧。 [phr] Stop your prolixity and get to work at once.

2. Both 立刻 and 赶紧 can be used in imperative sentences. When 立刻 is used to urge someone to do something right away, the tone adopted by the speaker is considered very strong. It usually comes out as an order. 赶紧 does not take on such a tone. In 2a, when we use 立刻, it sounds firm and strong and it is an order. If we use 赶紧 instead, it’s just an urge, not as strong as an order.
E.g. 2a 请立刻结清逾期款项。 [phr] Please settle the overdue payments immediately.

3. 赶紧 can be used independently, indicating urging. 立刻 cannot be used in this way. In 3a, 赶紧 is used alone. In this example sentence, we cannot use 立刻 instead.
E.g.3a. 赶紧, 飞机就要起飞了! [phr] Hurry up, the plane will take off soon!
lisaC
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