I have this question:


I would like to translate it: China's economy used to use what kind of expansion method?

以 can be 'use' and '往‘ can be 'to' in English, so that ‘used to' and '以往’ seem to be one and the same expression.

Or is the Chinese sense of '以往‘ more just 'use(d) in the past', '往‘ having the meaning 'past', not 'to' and 'used to' just fits conveniently?


3 Answers 3


以 here means

用在方位词前,表明时间、方位、方向或数量的界限:以前。以内。(from 在线新华字典

In a way it is similar to -wards suffix, as in backwards, in English.

往 means past.

以往 literally means before this point of time, 'past-wards'.

  • Thanks, I phrased the question badly, I really wanted to know what ideas 以往 summons to the Chinese mind. 'past-wards' is great!
    – Pedroski
    Aug 12, 2015 at 2:06

I just want to add a Chinese idiom.


长 means 'for a long time', 此 means 'like this'
Here, 以往 doesn't mean past, it means in the future
So 长此以往 means "If something is like this for a long time in the future" (something bad will happen)
He doesn't like exercise, he would be unhealthy if he keeps doing this.

Good luck learning Chinese!

  • Great answer, thanks! I'm gonna need that luck! It is not easy for me to learn Chinese! 谢谢!
    – Pedroski
    Aug 12, 2015 at 22:26

以往 have similar meaning as 以前, which both means "in the past"

舊時 also means "in the past" (but the time is older)

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