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Expressing "ever since" with "yilai"

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You can express "ever since" in Chinese using 以来 (yǐlái) with a time in the past. Just the word 来 (lái) can also play a similar role.

Pattern with 以来

To express "ever since," all one needs to do is put 以来 after a specific event or time. It expresses what has happened since the stated event until the time that the speaker talks (in other words, referring to a certain continuous time period leading up to the present).

Structure

This grammar pattern is usually used to start a statement.

Time / Event + 以来 ,⋯⋯

Although we won't go into detail here, note that when using 以来 in a more formal or written context, you can add 自, 从, or 自从 (or other similar words) before the time or event to make it into a "sandwich pattern."

Examples

  • 今年 八月 以来 ,这里 一直 没 下 过 雨 。Jīnnián Bāyuè yǐlái, zhèlǐ yīzhí méi xià guo yǔ.It hasn't rained since August.
  • 结婚 以来 ,我们 没 吵 过 架 。Jiéhūn yǐlái, wǒmen méi chǎo guo jià.We've never had a fight since we got married.
  • 上 大学 以来 ,他 变 了 很多 。Shàng dàxué yǐlái, tā biàn le hěnduō.We've never had a fight since we got married.
  • 我 八岁 以来 ,我 就 没有 见 过 他 。Cóng wǒ bāsuì yǐlái, wǒ jiù méiyǒu jiànguo tā.He hasn't returned home since his father passed away.
  • 我 学 汉语 以来 ,我 认识 了 很多 中国 朋友 。Cóng wǒ xué hànyǔ yǐlái, wǒ rènshi le hěnduō zhōgnguó péngyou.He hasn't returned home since his father passed away.

Pattern with 来

Using 来 to mean "ever since" is basically the same as 以来. However, there is one key difference: you can only use 来 after a length of time, rather than a specific date. In other words, it needs to be used with a certain number of years, months, days, hours, etc. In English, this would be like saying "Ever since three days ago, I've had a constant headache." It doesn't have to be a specific number either; it could be "a few" (几).

Structure

Time Period + 来 ,⋯⋯

This form cannot be used with 自, 从, or 自从 (or other similar words).

Examples

  • 十 年 ,房价 一直 在 涨 。Shí nián lái, fángjià yīzhí zài zhǎng.In the past decade, housing prices have been going up.
  • 几 年 ,我们 公司 的 收入 一直 在 增加 。Jǐ nián lái, wǒmen gōngsī de shōurù yīzhí zài zēngjiā.Our company's income has been increasing over the past few years.
  • 实习 几 个 月 ,我 学到 了 很 多 。Shíxí jǐ gè yuè lái, wǒ xuédào le hěn duō.I've learnt a lot from my internship during the last few months.
  • 出国 几 个 月 ,她 一点 也 不 想 家 。Chūguó jǐ gè yuè lái, tā yīdiǎn yě bù xiǎng jiā.She hasn't missed home at all since she went abroad a few month ago.
  • 离婚 这 几 年 ,他 从 没 去 看 过 孩子 。Líhūn zhè jǐ nián lái, tā cóng méi qù kàn guo háizi.He hasn't visited his child since he got divorced a few years ago.
  • 这 三 个 月 ,我 每天 都 在 想 她。Zhè sān ge yuè lái, wǒ měitiān dōu zài xiǎng tā.She hasn't missed home at all since she went abroad a few month ago.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books