The other day when I was having a brief conversation in Japanese I meant to say "I have always been living here" so I said いつも(the name of my home province)に住んでいます。 The Japanese person I was speaking with however said this was incorrect, and told me the more appropriate word to use in this situation was ずっと such that the sentence would be ずっと(the name of my home province)に住んでいます.

From my interpretation both of these words mean always, however there are clearly some nuances that I'm misunderstanding. If someone could clarify the meanings of these two words and why ずっと is more appropriate here and what kind of situations I would use ずっと vs いつも I would be very appreciative.


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    Another way to look at it: いつも = いつ + , i.e. "when" + "any (time)", so "whenever" or "any time". – Igor Skochinsky Nov 25 '14 at 21:41
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    Although いつも is a lexicalized combination with its own usage, so you can't just understand it as いつ+も, even though that's clearly its etymology. You can say things like 「いつもはしない」「いつもの私」「いつもだ」. – snailplane Nov 25 '14 at 22:05

Quick answer:

ずっと - sustained over long period of time

いつも - every time, all the time, etc.


ずっと東京に住んでいます。 (I've lived in Tokyo for a long time.)

東京に出張するときは、いつも「帝国ホテル」に泊まっています。 (I always stay at the Imperial Hotel when I have a business trip to Tokyo.)

Hope that helps!

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    So basically いつも is used for frequencies, "学校に行く前にいつも新聞を読みます." (I ALWAYS read the newspaper before I go to school). Is いつも almost exclusively used for frequency or are there other applications? Since ずっと is for sustained periods would it make sense to say something like "子どもの頃からピアノをずっと弾きました" (I've been playing the piano since I was a child). or does this example make it sound like I've been playing the piano every moment of every day since I was a child? – mattb Nov 26 '14 at 4:17
  • I think your newspaper example fits. As for the piano example, normally I might say 子どもの頃からピアノを弾いています。 ※「弾いています」because it is assumed you are still continuing to play. I think by putting in ずっと, you are emphasizing the length of time even though it is implied when you say 'since I was a child'. It might come across as you if you were unsatisfied or it was burdensome. The other case might be that by emphasizing with ずっと, you are in some way boasting. Of course, ずっと can be used in neutral or positives context too so you just have to be careful when and how you use it. – user224579 Nov 26 '14 at 18:02

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