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What is the difference between 原来 and 本来?


Can they be used interchangeably? Or are there subtle differences between the 2?

My language buddy in China says this: 原来: it used to be; 本来: it should be, but.
However, ChinesePod’s dictionary says both words mean “original”.

Thanks in advance for shedding some light on this.



Why not check out this Qing Wen answering that exact question and see if it makes it any clearer:

Here’s the link:


Thanks so much for this rapid response. Very useful Qing Wen!

I use your dictionary all the time to get examples of sentences to help me see how terms are used. In this case, it was not at all obvious how I could have found this very useful Qing Wen except by clicking on all the selected sentences.

Is there a quicker way to search for explanations about differences in similar words? Is there a Qing Wen search tool?


You can try the dashboard search with the Qing Wen show filtered. Or you can look through the Qing Wen library as a simple list and scan for any useful lessons and bookmark any that catch your eye.


Thanks for the tips.

Just tried using them to find an explanation for the difference between 感觉 and感情 and couldn’t find anything. BUT please don’t take this as a question! I think I can live with not knowing if there is a difference between these terms.


You could try using our glossary to illicit the difference by checking out all the example sentneces we have:




Thanks, Gwilym. I did in fact take a look at these before I raised the question. That was because of the overlap (even interchangeability) in meanings of the 2 terms.
Your dictionary defines 感情 as emotion and in the sample sentences it is used variously as emotion, relationship, passion, feelings. In the case of 感觉, your dictionary definition is “to feel” - great, I thought, clearly different from emotion. But then there are several sample sentences where the term is translated as … feelings. You can understand my confusion…