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Expressing "ever since" with "zicong"

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自从 means "ever since" in English, and is used to express the starting point of an action in the past. It can be followed by phrases using the markers 起 and 以后.


自从 + [Starting Point]


  • 自从 来 到 湖南,我 越 来 越 能 吃 辣 了。Ever since arriving in Hunan, I've been more and more able to eat spicy food.
  • 自从 金融 危机 爆发,就业 市场 变 得 越 来 越 不 景气 了。Ever since the economic crisis, the job market has been growing less and less.
  • 自从 他 跟 我 分手 后,他 就 没有 联系 过 我。Ever since he broke up with me, he hasn't contacted me.

In the above examples, 从 can be used interchangeably with 自从. The main difference is that 从 can also be used to state starting points in the future, a little like "from" in English. 自从 cannot be used in this way.

  • 明天 开始,我 要 认真 看 书。Starting from tomorrow, I'm going to study seriously.
  • 自从 明天 开始,我 要 认真 看 书。

Note that 从 can be used to denote starting points in place and time, whereas 自从 can only be used to express starting points in time.

See also

Sources and further reading