"Always" doing something - difference between 一直,总是,老是...

November 28, 2010, 04:03 AM posted in I Have a Question

Hey guys,

This has been been confusing me. I am never sure when to use 一直,总是 or老是... I have learned by now that 老 is often being used when something has a negative connotation. But what to use for the following:

I have always been very tall.

She always knows where to go.

They're always talking in class.

I've always wondered ...

He's always smiling.

Does anyone know a good way to distinguish between those?


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November 28, 2010, 04:27 AM

there is a qw that covers at least part of your question. It is an older one so look for the sentences to be posted in the discussion.



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November 29, 2010, 02:45 AM

Hi,安东,I think i can answer your question.beacause i'm Chinese,but i don't know if i express exactly.

these three words all mean always

老是 mostly used in someone always do something wrong,or do  something you don't like.

   so they're always talking in class.他们老是在上课讲话。(They always doing that that disturb you)

一直 got the meanings of from beginning to now,and will go on.

   so i have always been very tall.我一直是这么高。

总是 a little bit like 老是,but 总是 also can used in something good.

他总是帮助人。means he always helping another people.


sometime these three word not too much different.

in a word,connet to the conversation,guess the situation what they are talking,good or bad...

and don't thinking too much,.. the more use it ,the better you are.


if you got any question , you can answer me.

and can you please correct what i said,cos my english is so poor.i want to improve it..

cos 我总是学不好英语。(I study study..try try..but i always can't be better.a little bit negative meaning)