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Differences between “běn lái” and “yuán lái”

Chinese words, learning Chinese, Chinese grammar

If something was originally a certain way, or "should be" a certain way, the Chinese words used are often "本来" (běnlái) and "原来" (yuánlái). "本来" (běnlái) is usually an adverb while "原来" (yuánlái) could be either an adjective or adverb. However, they are used in different ways and different circumstances, so this article will help you distinguish when and where to use them.

如果某事起初就是某种样子或者应该是某种样子的时候,中文里经常用"本来"和"原来"表示。"本来"通常是个副词,而"原来"可以是形容词或是副词。不过,它们的用法不同,且用于不同的情况。本文将帮你区分何时、何处使用它们。

 

"本来" as an adverb often requires "就" for emphasis

"本来"作为副词使用的话经常需要用到"就"起强调作用

 

Subject + 本来 + 就 + 很/不 + Adj

 

Subject + 本来 + 就 + 会/要/得/应该+ Verb

 

创业本来就不容易。

chuàng yè běn lái jiù bú róng yì.

It's not supposed to be an easy thing to start your own business.

 

照顾孩子本来就是父母的责任。

zhào gù hái zi běn lái jiù shì fù mǔ de zé rèn.

Taking care of children is supposed to be the responsibility of parents.

 

老师本来就应该好好备课。

lǎo shī běn lái jiù yīng gāi hǎo hǎo bèi kè.

Teachers are supposed to prepare their lessons well.

 

美国人本来就会说流利的英文。

měi guó rén běn lái jiù huì shuō liú lì de yīng wén.

Americans are supposed to speak fluent English.

 

If something happened unexpectedly later, "本来" is preferred rather than "原来" considering there is a change of the original situation. Since it has happened, the structure "是···的" is suggested here. If you are just trying to give some fact, then "是···的" is optional.

如果某事后来意外发生,考虑到最初状态已发生变化,使用"本来"好于"原来"。由于状况已经发生,这里便要用到"是…的"这一结构。要是你只想说出事实,那么"是…的"可有可无。

 

Subject + 本来 + 是 +(不)要/会/得/应该 + Verb + 的,但是/可是/不过/现在/后来···

 

我本来是要去参加你的生日派对的,可是周末突然要加班。

wǒ běn lái shì yào qù cān jiā nǐ de shēng rì pài duì de, kě shì zhōu mò tū rán yào jiā bān.

I was going to go to your birthday party, but I had to work some extra time this weekend.

 

他本来是应该考得更好的,可是那天他发高烧了。

tā běn lái shì yīng gāi kǎo dé gèng hǎo de, kě shì nà tiān tā fā gāo shāo le.

He would have done better on the test, but he had a high fever that day.

 

我本来是要跟他结婚的,可是后来发现了我们真的不合适。

wǒ běn lái shì yào gēn tā jié hūn de, kě shì hòu lái fā xiàn le wǒ men zhēn de bú hé shì.

I was originally going to marry him, but then I found that we are just not meant for each other.

 

If you've got an opinion to express after stating how it "should be," then "本来+就" will help you sound more convincing.

要是你说完事情原本该是什么样子之后还要说到某种观点,那么"本来+就"这个结构能使你的话更让人信服。

 

Subject + 本来 + 就 + [what you think it is true or right]

 

你本来就够瘦了,还要减肥吗?

nǐ běn lái jiù gòu shòu le, hái yào jiǎn féi ma?

You are already thin enough and you still want to lose weight?

 

他讲的本来就不对,为什么还要我听他的?

tā jiǎng dé běn lái jiù bú duì, wéi shén me hái yào wǒ tīng tā de?

What he said was wrong all along, so why do you still want me to listen to what he says?

 

他本来就不是好人,你怎么还要帮他?

tā běn lái jiù bú shì gè hǎo rén, nǐ zěn me hái yào bāng tā?

He was never a good person. Why do you still want to help him?

 

她本来就不喜欢你,你别再追她了。

tā běn lái jiù bú xǐ huān nǐ, nǐ bié zài zhuī tā le.

She never liked you in the first place, so stop going after her.

 

"原来" is more used to emphasize what you accidentally find out or realize in some certain situation. It's similar to "as it turns out…". For this usage, "原来" is normally located at the beginning or the middle of the sentence.

"原来"更多是用于强调在某种情况下你意外发现或意识到什么。它类似于"as it turns out…",这个用法里,"原来"一般放于句首或句子中间。

 

The most two useful structures are as follows:

下面是最为实用的两个结构:

 

原来 + 是(因为/为了)+ [fact/truth/reason/purpose]

 

怪不得 + [observation],原来 + [reason]

 

原来是你啊!我刚才真没看出来。

yuán lái shì nǐ a! wǒ gāng cái zhēn méi kàn chū lái.

It is you! I didn't recognize you until just now.

 

原来是这样啊,那是我做错了。

yuán lái shì zhè yàng a, nà shì wǒ zuò cuò le.

Oh, that's it. I was doing it wrong all along.

 

怪不得你中文说得这么好,原来你在中国住了三十多年。

guài bú dé nǐ zhōng wén shuō dé zhè me hǎo, yuán lái nǐ zài zhōng guó zhù le sān shí duō nián.

No wonder your Chinese is so good. You lived in China for more than 30 years.

 

怪不得总是对他那么好,原来你一直都喜欢他。

guài bú dé zǒng shì duì tā nà me hǎo, yuán lái nǐ yī zhí dōu xǐ huān tā.

No wonder you treat him so well. You've had feelings for him the whole time.

 

"原来" is also used as an adjective, meaning "previous" or "former".

"原来"也可以用作形容词,意思是"previous"或"former"。

 

原来的+ noun

 

这是我原来的家。

zhè shì wǒ yuán lái de jiā.

This is my old house.

 

他原来的公司倒闭了。

tā yuán lái de gōng sī guān mén le.

His former company closed down.

 

你们原来的看法不是这样的。

nǐ men yuán lái de kàn fǎ bú shì zhè yàng de.

This is not how you previously thought about it.

 

你原来的头发那么黑,现在白了很多。

nǐ yuán lái de tóu fā nà me hēi, xiàn zài bái le hěn duō.

Your hair was so black before, but now it's become a lot whiter.

 

Translated from: AllSetLearning

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2016-06-22

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