Expressing "all along" with "yuanlai"
原来 (yuánlái) means "originally" (similar to 本来) as an adverb, or "original" or "former" as an adjective. As an adverb it can also mean "all along" and can be used to indicate a sudden realization of something previously unknown—a bit like, "so it's been like that all along... how could I have not realized?"
Used as "Original" or "Originally"
When used as an adjective:
原来 + 的 + Noun
When used as an adverb:
Subj. + 原来 + Predicate
- 你 原来 的 发型 也 很 可爱 。Your original hairstyle was also very cute.
- 这 件 衣服 原来 的 价格 是 999 块 。The original price of this piece of clothing was 999 RMB.
- 她们 原来 只是 邻居 ，现在 是 很好 的 朋友 。Originally they were just neighbors. Now they're very good friends.
- 我们 原来 住 在 浦东 ，几 个 月 以前 搬 到 了 这里 。Originally we lived in Pudong. We moved here a few months ago.
- 原来 她 是 他 的 中文 老师，现在 是 他 老婆 。She was originally his Chinese teacher. She is now his wife.
Used as "All along"
原来 + [New Information]
- 原来 是 你 ！So it was you all along!
- 原来 你们 认识 ！ So you both knew each other this whole time!
- 原来 是 这样 ！Oh, so it's like that!
- 原来 你 这么 有钱！It turns out you are so rich!
- 原来 你 在 骗 我 ！ 我 怎么 那么 傻 ？ You have been tricking me all along. How could I be so stupid?
The more formal expression 原来如此 (yuánlái rúcǐ) can be used like 原来是这样 in example 3.
Sources and further reading
- HSK Standard Course 4上 (pp. 43) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- Chinese Grammar - Broken down into 100 items - Basic and Intermediate Levels (汉语语法百项讲练 - 初中级) (pp. 94-6) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 2, Part 1 (pp. 195-6) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- New Practical Chinese Reader 5 (新实用汉语课本5) (pp. 29) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- Short-term Spoken Chinese: Elementary (汉语口语速成基础篇) (pp. 22-23) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy