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Answer to HSK Quiz: Adverbs of Chance and Frequency

Aug. 23, 2017

Answer: B

Answer analysis:

1. 偶然 (ǒurán): accidental; occasionally, or happened to.
“偶然 (ǒurán)” often takes the place of “It just happened that …” in English.
Tā ǒurán fāxiàn le zhè fú huà.
他  偶然   发现  了  这 幅  画。
He discovered the painting by chance.

2. 偶尔 (ǒu’ěr) is an adverb of frequency meaning “once in a while” or occasionally.
Wǒ ǒu’ěr wǎnshang chū qù kàn diànyǐng.
我  偶尔    晚上         出   去 看   电影。
I enjoy an occasional night out at the cinema.

3. 偶遇 (ǒuyù) is a verb, meaning run into, run across or to meet with.
Wǒ jīngcháng zài cānguǎn hé tā ǒuyù.
我     经常       在   餐馆     和 他  偶遇。
I often run into him at the restaurant.

Chinese learners should pay close attention to the words “偶然 (ǒurán)” and “偶尔 (ǒu’ěr)”. Learners that previously took the HSK exams probably know that there are many quiz questions designed for differentiating and analyzing Chinese words which are similar to one another.

“偶尔 (ǒu’ěr)” is used to emphasize that the number of times is not too many (just a few times). “偶尔 (ǒu’ěr)” can be only used as the attributive adjunct and cannot used together with adverbs of degree. For example, we can’t say “很偶尔 (hěn ǒu’ěr)” or “非常偶尔 (fēicháng ǒu’ěr)” in a Chinese sentence. “很 (hěn) very” and “非常 (fēicháng) very/extremely” are adverbs of degree which can’t be added in front of “偶尔 (ǒu’ěr)”.

“偶然 (ǒurán)” emphasizes that something has happened unexpectedly. People didn’t previously think it was possible, but it happened. Adverbs of degree can be added in front of “偶然 (ǒurán)” and used as the attributive adjunct in the sentence.

For example:
Yí gè hěn ǒurán de jīhuì.
一 个 很   偶然  的  机会.
An occasional chance.

In the case above, we need to use “偶尔 (ǒu’ěr)” which emphasizes “fewer times/rarely” here. B is the correct answer.

Wǒ bú dà xǐhuān zài yóuyǒngchí yóuyǒng, zhǐ ǒu’ěr qù yí cì.
我  不  大    喜欢  在     游泳池    游泳,     只  偶尔 去 一 次。
I don’t like to swim in a swimming pool, except for occasionally when the chance arises.

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Which HSK level would one expect to find this type of testing?

Hi 大卫. It’s a good question. This Practice Quiz is for HSK 3.

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