"He never drinks alcohol."


August 19, 2018

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Why 从来不 instead of 从来? It seems that would translate to never doesn't drink alcohol instead of never drinks alcohol.


I am Chinese, I try to explain it.

“从” means “from” “來” means “come”

When these two words come together as “从来”, it means “from the very beginning until now”.

“不” means “not”

Having a 1-to-1 translation:

他 - 从来 - 不 - 喝酒

He - from the very beginning until now - not - drink alcohol

So it's translated to “He never drinks alcohol”.

P.S. : 1-to-1 translation IS NOT A GOOD PRACTICE. It's used here just to let you get easier to understand the meaning of the Chinese sentence.

By the way, I found Google translates “从来” as “never”. It’s absolutely wrong!!! “never” should be translated as“从来不”, not “从来”. You can take a look at the following dictionary which makes a proper translation for these words:



That was incredibly helpful, thank you!!


Thanks very much! So would 从来 without 不 then mean "always", which is the opposite of "never"? Or would it not even be grammatical without the 不?


According to Pleco, 从来 indeed means always, at all times, all along. Never trust Google translate :P


Thank you a lot


I just posted a comment about the usefulness of word for word translation, which I find helpful in learning sentence structure and grammar. Having done translations (English <—> Spanish), I do agree that word-for-word translation should not be used when using the language. This can lead to confusion and serious misunderstandings.


他总是都不喝酒 Would this also be a good translation? I feel that 总是(不) will give a sense of practice, never before and never after while 从来(不)feels to me like something that always (never) happened in the past but may change in the future. Would this assessment be correct?


As a native Chinese speaker, my understanding of "他总是都不喝酒" is: in most of time, he does not drink alcohol (99% not, but remain 1% possibility). He might already drink in the past or will drink in the future, but it's VERY rare.

"他从来不喝酒" means that he doesn't drink alcohol from his birth until now. It doesn't provide information he will/will not drink in the further.


Could somebody explain the grammar/syntax of this sentence? My dictionary says 从来 means "never" but I get marked wrong for writing just 从来 and not 从来不.

Is this a kind of double negative like in Spanish? Is it still grammatical but with a different meaning without the 不? Should the dictionary really have an entry for 从来不 rather than just 从来?


There is a little confuse for the dictionary! Make it simple, 从来 means "always" or "from the very beginning until now", while "从来不" means "never". You can take a look to my previous reply for details.


Why was my 他 从来不喝酒 not accepted?

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