Expressing "always" with "conglai"
Although perhaps more often used in the negative to mean "never," 从来 (cónglái) can be used with 都 (dōu) to mean "always" or "have always (done)."
Without the negative adverbs 不 and 没, 从来 takes on the meaning of "always." (Literally, 从来 means something like "from the beginning," although no one is really thinking that phrase when they use it.) When used in the positive, though, it is customary to put the adverb 都 after 从来.
Subj. + 从来 + 都 (是) + Predicate
The predicate part of the pattern can be a verb or an adjective. It's also quite common to follow 从来都 with an additional 是 for emphasis.
- 他 从来 都 这样 。He's always like this.
- 她 从来 都 这么 晚 睡 。She's always gone to bed so late.
- 他 说话 从来 都 很 大声 。He's always spoken very loudly.
- 我们 学校 的 学生 从来 都 只 能 穿 校服 。Students in our school can only wear school uniforms.
- 成功 从来 都 要 靠 自己 努力 。Success always depends on working hard by oneself.
- 我们 下棋 ，从来 都是 他 赢 。He always wins when we play chess.
- 她 买 衣服 从来 都是 只 买 名牌 。She always buys brand-name clothes when she goes shopping.
- 我 从来 都是 一个人 住 ，已经 习惯 了 。I've always lived alone; I'm used to it already.
Sources and further reading
- HSK Standard Course 4上 (pp. 5) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- 现代汉语八百词 (pp. 132) 卓越汉语－公司实战篇 →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 2, Part 2 (pp. 59) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- New Practical Chinese Reader 4 (新实用汉语课本4) (pp. 121) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- Yale Chinese Usage Dictionary: Usage of 从来