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píng cháng
adj./n. ordinary, common; mediocre, average; normal/ordinary times, usual days
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How is 平常 (píng cháng) used in everyday conversations?
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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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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".
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