feichang-alternatives

No Nonsense Newbie Tips: 6 非常 Alternatives

Another classic newbie rut.

Like “喜欢“, ”非常” (fēi cháng) is a word beginners learn to embrace early.  It is an extremely useful adverb meaning “very” or “extremely”, and can be used in a wide variety of circumstances (plus it is fun to say- 1st tone-2nd tone is a personal favorite!)

Yet also like ”喜欢“, it can quickly become more of a crutch than a tool.

Due to its broad range of meanings, simple grammar usage, and relatively easy pronunciation, beginners can cling to “非常” to serve all their adverbial needs. While you will never reveal yourself as a newbie solely by using 非常, isn’t it time you expanded your “extreme” vocabulary?  After all, there are endless instances when learning Chinese where you need to express “very!” (非常好, 非常难, 非常奇怪。。。).

Lets today review 6 alternatives to our old friend “非常“, helping you jumpstart yourself out of this adverb rut.

Top 6 非常 Alternatives

1. 特别 (tè bié)- Especially, exceptionally, specially

Example A

特别帅的帅哥,就会打完球一起出去喝一杯什么的

tè bié shuài de shuài gē, jiù huì dǎ wán qiú yī qǐ chū qù hè yī bēi shén me de

What do especially handsome guys drink together after finishing up their ball game?

Example B

无论是顾客、销售商、还是果农,他们都说,今年的葡萄好像特别甜

wú lùn shì gù kè, xiāo shòu shāng, hái shì guǒ nóng, tā men dōu shuō, jīn nián de pú táo hǎo xiàng tè bié tián

Whether customers, vendors, or farmers, they all say this year’s grapes are exceptionally sweet

2. 十分 (shí fēn)- Very, completely, extremely

Example A

避免贸易战十分符合两国利益

bì miǎn mào yì zhàn shí fēn fú hé liǎng guó lì yì

Avoiding a trade war is very much in line with the interests of both countries

Example B

回归CBA易建联十分低调 NBA已对他关上大门

huí guī CBA yì jiàn lián shí fēn dī diào NBA yǐ duì tā guān shàng dà mén

Yi Jianlian’s return to the CBA very low-key; has the NBA shut the door on him?

3. 格外 (gé wài)- Especially, additionally, particularly

Example A

那个女孩穿着婚纱格外美丽动人

nà gè nǚ hái chuān zhuó hūn shā gé wài měi lì dòng rén

That woman’s wedding dress is incredibly beautiful and captivating

Example B

昨天的天空为什么格外蓝

zuó tiān de tiān kōng wèi shén me gé wài lán

Why was yesterday’s sky especially blue?

4. 相当 (xiāng dāng)- Quite, fairly, considerably

Example A

克林顿受访夸老婆:相当能干 有资格当美国总统

kè lín dùn shòu fǎng kuā lǎo pó: xiāng dāng néng gàn yǒu zī gé dāng měi guó zǒng tǒng

In interview, Clinton praises wife: quite capable, has qualifications to be US president

Example B

高端相当抢手 蓝色三星GALAXY S3再降

gāo duān xiāng dāng qiǎng shǒu lán sè sān xīng GALAXY S3 zài jiàng

High end, very high demand blue Samsung Galaxy S3, drops in price again

5. 极其 (jí qí)- Extremely, exceedingly

Example A

调查组称安全管理极其混乱

Diào chá zǔ chēng ān quán guǎn lǐ jí qí hǔn luàn

The investigation committee claims safety management is extremely chaotic

Example B

大洋深处极其罕见的绝美生物

dà yáng shēn chù jí qí hǎn jiàn de jué měi shēng wù

Extremely rare and beautiful creatures of the deep ocean

6. 超 (chāo)- Super, extra-, exceed

Example A

超薄的机身设计也是当下手机界中的一朵奇葩

chāo bó de jī shēn shè jì yě shì dāng xià shǒu jī jiè zhōng de yī duo qí pā

The super slim design is a wonder of modern mobile phones

Example B

一个人也许笑得很美,另一个可能工作超努力

yī gè rén yě xǔ xiào de hěn měi, lìng yī gè kě néng gōng zuò chāo nǔlì

One person might have a beautiful smile, while another might be extremely dedicated to work

What other newbie ruts have you found yourself in?

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