All along can be expressed in two different ways.
When learning Chinese, you’ll often come across words that have one common meaning, but several other definitions. Or, the same meaning but different usages. 一直 and 一向 are two words that fall into this category. They both mean “all along” and “always”. However, don’t be fooled into thinking they can always be used interchangeably. In today’s article, we’ll explain the difference between the two and give you some example sentences.
All Along with 一直
Yīzhí is used to express that something has been constant or continuously occurring since a certain point in time. The time frame can be as short as a few minutes up to an indefinite period. Furthermore, Yīzhí can be used for the past and the future. Yīzhí is great for expressing that an action condition has persisted since a certain point in time. Similarly, it can be used to express an action or condition has been continuous since the very first time it happened. Lastly, besides “All Along”, Yīzhí can be used when giving directions to say “straight”. Here are some example sentences:
Zhège páizi de diànshì yìzhí hěn shòu huānyíng.
This brand of TV has always been very popular.
Běijīng zuówǎn yìzhí xiàyǔ.
Beijing was raining continually last night.
他 毕业以后 一直 没有找到 真正 喜欢的 工作。
Tā bìyè yǐhòu yīzhí méiyǒu zhǎodào zhēnzhèng xǐhuān de gōngzuò.
He hasn’t found a job that he really enjoys since his graduation from college.
Tā yìzhí zài míngsīkǔxiǎng xīn de zhuànqián fāngfǎ.
She has been thinking up new ways to earn money.
All Along with 一向
Both Yīzhí and Yīxiàng express actions and conditions that have always occurred. However, Yīxiàng is less flexible than Yīzhí. This is because it cannot be applied to the future. Therefore, it only concerns the past up until the present. Remember, can Yīzhí focus on actions and conditions that have occurred since a certain point. Because of this, Yīxiàng is best used for expressing habits or states that have always existed irrespective of a starting point. Here are some example sentences:
Tā yíxiàng shuìde chénwěn.
He always sleeps peacefully.
Tā yíxiàng xīnzhì gāoyuǎn.
He always has great ambitions.
Xìzhǔrèn yíxiàng jiānchí yuánzé.
The head of the department sticks to his principles.
Gēge dài fū yíxiàng duì wǒ shífēn guānxīn.
My older brother has always looked out for me.
We hope you found today’s article useful! When reading, listening and speaking always pay attention to how these two words are used. You can also find examples of 一直 and 一向 through our Chinese Languages news articles on the Chairman’s Bao Platform. If you have any burning Chinese Grammar questions we can answer them on our Quora, we’ll be happy to help!