Continuous - non-stop

September 14, 2010, 12:29 AM posted in I Have a Question

What is the difference in meaning between 一直, 不断 and 不停?  Can they each be used, for example, to say that someone talks non-stop?

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September 14, 2010, 02:47 AM

These words are all similar in meaning.  Literally, they mean:

一直 continuously

不断 unceasingly

不停 nonstop

They can each precede a verb, although the grammar is slightly different for each with regards to the use of 地 (de):

一直 + Verb

不断 (+ 地) + Verb

不停 + 地 + Verb

So in each of these cases, you could replace "Verb" with 说话 and it would be correct.

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Thanks for that John. I also asked a kid at school. He said that only 不停 carried the sense of 'whining' that I was trying to convey in my example. He said the other 2, especially 一直, are simply comments about the situation.