这么多年来

yuechu

Senior Member
Canada, English
大家好!

I recently heard this structure used on a TV show: 其实这么多年来
Does anyone know what 来 means here?
Thanks!
 
  • hx1997

    Senior Member
    汉语普通话 Chinese - Mandarin
    I can't pin down the meaning of 来 (=以来 here) alone, but "这么多年来,xxx" means for/through all these years, xxx has been true.
     

    hx1997

    Senior Member
    汉语普通话 Chinese - Mandarin
    I wouldn't say "forbid", but it does seem to me that there usually isn't a 了 in that following clause. That said, I can still give an example where there is one: 这么多年来,我一直记错了她的名字。

    Edit: On second thought, I'm not so sure about what I said above. Better wait for other folks to chime in.
     
    Last edited:

    gonecar

    Senior Member
    Chinese-Mandarin Chinese
    大家好!

    I recently heard this structure used on a TV show: 其实这么多年来
    Does anyone know what 来 means here?
    Thanks!
    来, as in "a period of time+来", normally means 以来. I can't think of any exception if there was.

    If the 来/以来 follows a time expression, it usually indicates that period of time extends from the past up to the present.

    In this sense, 这么多年来/以来 can be paraphrased as:
    during so many years/over these years/for so many years.

    Thanks, hx1997! Does this structure require (or forbid) a 了 in the following clause?
    It is not a must to require (or forbid) a 了 in the following clause. You could apply a 了 whenever it is required in a sentence which contains the structure of "time period +以来".
    To require (or forbid) a 了 in the following clause, it just depends.

    Look at these examples:

    这么多年来,我们只见过/见了一面。
    这么多年来,我只见了/见过他一面。
    这么多年来,我们连一面都没见过。
    这么多年来,我一直找他。

    了 is widely used in oral or written Chinese to express grammatical features, and I found it was really tricky when I was intending to sum up some rules like when and where to use it.
     

    yuechu

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Those are great! Thanks so much for the examples, Gonecar!
    EDIT: Oh, sorry! I meant to thank you too, hx1997! :)
     
    Last edited:

    Funny Actuary

    New Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    Hi Yuechu,

    Like Gonecar mentioned, the 来 or 以来 at the end of some time phrases usually means up to this time (of speaking).

    However, it needs to be pointed out that using this type of time phrases usually means the expresser intends to express a result after all that happened during the period (rather than to express something that happened during the period). Therefore, the grammatically correct tense in the main clause should be a perfect tense.

    In Chinese, 过 is used to indicate perfect tenses while 了 is used to indicate past tenses. Thus, I would suggest using 过 instead of 了 in the examples above, as follows.

    这么多年(来),我们只见过一面。 For so many years, we have met only once.
    这么多年(来),我只见过他一面。 For so many years, I have met him only once.
    这么多年(来),我们连一面都没见过。 For so many years, we haven't met even once.
    这么多年(来),我一直在找他。 For so many years, I have been looking for him. (一直 is usually used to express perfect continuous tenses.)

    If you intend to express something that happened during the period, you may simply change 这么多年(来) to 这么多年(里), i.e. in so many years. For instance,

    这么多年(里),我们只见了一面。 In so many years, we only met once.
    这么多年(里),我只见了他一面。 In so many years, I only met him once.
    这么多年(里),我们都没见(了)。 In so many years, we didn't meet.
    这么多年(里),我都在找他(了)。 In so many years, I was looking for him.

    The difference between 我一直在找他 and 我都在找他了 is that

    我一直在找他 tends to infer a result that I'm still looking for him or perhaps that I finally found him just now.
    我都在找他了 tends to infer that I spent a lot of time in looking for him rather than in doing other things.

    As you may note, both 这么多年来 and 这么多年里 may be abbreviated as 这么多年. (这么多年里 is abbreviated more often.) Hence, the tense in a sentence with 这么多年 may be a past tense or a perfect tense. That is why both sound understandable for a native speaker, but they actually emphasize totally different points.

    I wouldn't suggest you spend much time in understanding the logics in Chinese grammars (in order to translate between Chinese and an other language in a grammatically equivalent way) because Chinese grammars are not so systematic and strict as most of other languages'. I would suggest you spend more time in imitating how native speakers express idiomatically and in learning how they understand (guess) the meaning of an ambiguous expression based on specific circumstances.
     
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    yuechu

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Oh, wow. That was incredibly useful, Funny Actuary! Thanks so much for your helpful explanations! :D
     

    j29682896

    Senior Member
    Taiwan - Mandarin Chinese
    More examples of 这么多年来,.....了。

    这么多年来,我一直以为他已经死了。For so many years, I have always thought that he was dead. (The sentence indicates that he is still alive.)
    这么多年来,我一直以为他不在国内了。For so many years, I have always thought that he had been overseas. (The sentence indicates that he has always been in his country.)
    这么多年来,我一直以为我不会再爱上任何人了。For so many years, I have always thought that I would not be in love with anyone again.(The sentence indicates that I am in love with someone now.)
     
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