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How to use always in chinese?


Hi @YuQinCai, @Constance_Fang @Fiona and the ChinesePod team, my question is this:

请问总是,老,和 从来有什么区别?如果我翻译这个字意思是 “always”. 在句子什么时候可以用?


Hi robert!
I think these are different concepts.
“总是”的意识是“always only do this".
但是”从来·“的意识是”originally and be continued from before, but now not clear.“
You did for a long time, but in the future, you are not clear to do that.
Please use this for more example.
Thanks for good post.


Hi Juna, thanks for replying. Although I have to be honest that I still don’t understand what is the difference between these 3 words.


As my explaining skill is not enough, it did not make you clear.
So I am going to try to explain more.
First, we can say “总是”。
It means that something is repeated.
For example, 他总是那样谦虚. (He always be polite.) and 总是装不好(Anyway, it cannot be inserted. )
So it is the truth. everytime
How about "老“?
It means “old” mainly and another meaning is “too long” and “be used to”.
ex. 他老不听我的话. ( He always does not listen to me carefully. )
It says that he has not heard me, but it seems to be not in the future. past is truth but future is not clear
last "从来”。
It is used to explain the repetitive past things such as a habit…
I will give you one sentence. 这种事我从来没听说过.( I have never heard that.)

past current future
总是 clear clear clear
老 clear clear perhaps clear but unknown
从来 clear unknown unknown

Is it clear?
If you have the other opinion, please share with me. :slightly_smiling_face:



If you like to read more about it you can also find a lot of information and example sentences on Chinese Grammar Wiki.

I personally think that John Pasden and his team “always” give a very clear explanation.