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Expressing "never" with "conglai"

Although it can also work in the positive, 从来 (cónglái) is usually used when you want to express that you never do something (as a habit, or as a rule), or that you have never done something (it's not a part of your life experience). In either usage, 从来 (cónglái) may be shortened to just 从 (cóng) in casual speech.

"To Never Do" with 从来 (cónglái) + 不 (bù)

When you follow 从来 (cónglái) with 不 (bù), you are expressing that you never do something (as a habit, or as a rule). It's often used as a way to refuse something, as in "I never drink."

Structure

The structure is:

Subj. + 从来 + 不 + [Verb Phrase]

Keep in mind that 从来 (cónglái) may be shortened to just 从 (cóng) in casual speech.

Examples

  • 从来 不 喝酒。 cónglái bù hējiǔ.She never drinks.
  • 我 女朋友 从 不 给 我 打 电话。来 has been omitted here.Wǒ nǚpéngyou cóng bù gěi wǒ dǎ diànhuà.My girlfriend never calls me.
  • 这 个 人 很 奇怪,他 从来 不 笑。Zhège rén hěn qíguài, tā cónglái bù xiào.This person is very strange. He never laughs.
  • 你 父母 从来 不 打 你 吗?"hit" can mean "spank"Nǐ fùmǔ cónglái bù dǎ nǐ ma?Your parents never hit you?
  • 从 不 关心 别人。来 has been omitted here.cóng bù guānxīn biérén.He never cares about other people.

"To Have Never Done" with 从来 (cónglái) + 没有 (méiyǒu)

Use 从来 (cónglái) with 没 (méi) or 没有 (méiyǒu) (and 过 (guo) after the verb) to indicate that you have never done something (it's not a part of your life experience). You're talking about the past now, because you're talking about what you haven't done before, so 没有 (méiyǒu) is appropriate. 过 (guo) also makes sense, because you're making a statement about your life experience.

Structure

The structure is:

Subj. + 从来 + 没(有) + Verb + 过

Again, 从来 (cónglái) may be shortened to just 从 (cóng) in casual speech. Note that you can have an object or other information after the verb, but the 过 (guo) needs to come immediately after the verb.

Examples

  • 从来 没有 这 个 问题 吗?cónglái méiyǒu xiǎng guo zhège wèntí ma? Have you never thought about this question?
  • 从来 没 她 妈妈。cónglái méi jiàn guo tā māma.She has never met her mother.
  • 从没 这 个 词。来 has been omitted here.cóngméi xué guo zhège cí.I have never before studied this word.
  • 你们 从来 没有 听说 这 个 地方 吗?Nǐmen cónglái méiyǒu tīngshuō guo zhège dìfang ma? Have you never heard about this place before?
  • 很 多 中国人 从来 没 国。Hěn duō Zhōngguó rén cónglái méi chū guo guó.A lot of Chinese people have never been abroad.

See Also

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