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Think Fast: Reacting Quickly in Chinese with 连忙, 急忙, and 匆忙

As learners progress beyond the introductory stage, the desire to employ more complex words to convey specific and intricate meanings becomes inevitable. It is during this phase that they encounter the challenge of handling an array of synonyms. In this article, we will shed light on the distinctions between three Chinese synonyms: 连忙 (liánmáng), 急忙 (jímáng), and 匆忙 (cōngmáng), which are often translated as “to react quickly” in English. By delving into their unique usage patterns and subtle differences, we will provide valuable guidance that will enhance your ability to express the swiftness of actions effectively.

连忙 (liánmáng)

连忙(liánmáng) means “react quickly as something happens.” It is an adverb that usually modifies actions without adding 地(de) after it. It is used to state facts and situations, but not requirements, demands, or questions.

For example:

我看见他来了,连忙去开门。(Wǒ kànjiàn tā láile, liánmáng qù kāimén.)(√)
I saw him coming and quickly went to open the door.

你连忙去开门。(Nǐ liánmáng qù kāimén.)(X)
You are quick to open the door.

你连忙去哪儿?(Nǐ liánmáng qù nǎr?)(X)
Where are you going so hurriedly?

听说他住院了,他女朋友连忙去看他。(Tīng shuō tā zhùyuànle, tā nǚ péngyǒu liánmáng qù kàn tā.)(√)
I heard that he was hospitalized, and his girlfriend went to see him in a hurry.

你连忙去医院看你男朋友吧!(Nǐ liánmáng qù yīyuàn kàn nǐ nán péngyǒu ba!)(X)
Go quickly to the hospital to see your boyfriend!

你连忙去医院看谁?(Nǐ liánmáng qù yīyuàn kàn shéi?)(X)
Who are you going to see in the hospital so quickly?

急忙 (jímáng)

Like 连忙(liánmáng), 急忙(jímáng) is an adverb. It cannot be followed by 地(de). 急忙(jímáng) can be translated as “in a hurry,” “hurriedly,” or “hastily.” It signifies urgency or concern. We can repeat 急忙(jímáng) using the pattern “AABB,” resulting in 急急忙忙(jíjí mángmáng).

For example:

他发现她误会了,于是急忙去解释。(Tā fāxiàn tā wùhuìle, yúshì jímáng qù jiěshì.)
He realized that she misunderstood, so he rushed to explain.

别急急忙忙的,再休息会儿吧!(Bié jí jí máng máng de, zài xiūxí huìr ba!)
Don’t hurry, take a break!

早上大家都急急忙忙去上班。(Zǎoshang dàjiā dōu jí jí máng máng qù shàngbān.)
Everyone was rushing to work in the morning.

我最好的朋友来我的城市看我,我急忙去车站接她。(Wǒ zuì hǎo de péngyǒu lái wǒ de chéngshì kàn wǒ, wǒ jímáng qù chēzhàn jiē tā.)
My best friend came to see me in my city. I rushed to pick her up at the station.

匆忙 (cōngmáng)

匆忙(cōngmáng) means “in a hurry.” Unlike 连忙(liánmáng) and 急忙(jímáng), 匆忙(cōngmáng) is an adjective that can be modified by degree adverbs like “very,” “extremely,” “especially,” and “too.” It can function as a predicate, attribute, complement, or adverbial modifier. We can also double the word following the pattern “AABB,” resulting in 匆匆忙忙(cōngcōng mángmáng).

匆忙(cōngmáng) emphasizes the urgency of time.

For example:

你昨天走得很匆忙,为什么?(Nǐ zuótiān zǒu de hěn cōngmáng, wèishéme?)
You were rushing yesterday, why?

不要匆忙做决定。(Bùyào cōngmáng zuò juédìng.)
Don’t rush to make a decision.

做事情不要总是匆匆忙忙的,会出问题的。(Zuò shìqíng bùyào zǒng shì cōngcōng mángmáng de, huì chū wèntí de.)
Do not always do things in a hurry, there will be problems.

我们每次见面都匆匆忙忙。(Wǒmen měi cì jiànmiàn dōu cōngcōng mángmáng.)
Every time we meet, it’s in a hurry.

In today’s fast-paced digital world, , the demand for quick reactions is ever-present. Whether it’s rushing to meet deadlines or keeping up with the rapid flow of information, being able to articulate the speed of life has become increasingly important. By mastering the Chinese synonyms 连忙(liánmáng), 急忙(jímáng), and 匆忙(cōngmáng) for “reacting quickly,” you gain a powerful linguistic tool to convey the sense of urgency and rapid response required in contemporary society. So, embrace these nuances, refine your language skills, and navigate the fast-paced world with confidence. Keep exploring and expanding your knowledge, and soon you’ll find yourself seamlessly integrating these expressions into your Chinese repertoire.

To access more HSK 5 grammar video tutorials, click here .

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Jing Cao is the chief-editor and co-founder of DigMandarin. She has a master's degree in Chinese Linguistics and Language Aquisition and has taught thousands of students for the past years. She devotes herself to the education career of making Chinese learning easier throughout the world.

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