Toujours vs/ Tout le temps

Should you say toujours or tout le temps? The thing is that toujours has 2 very different meanings and we use them a lot. So, depending on the situation, it could be hard to guess what do you want to say if you always use toujours like this: “je suis toujours en vacances”, “il fume toujours”. This kind of sentences cannot be well understood without context. That’s why you need an other word, which is tout le temps. So, what does toujours mean?

Toujours = always

You probably know it: toujours means always, as in:
– Il mange toujours du chocolat. (He always eats chocolate.)

Toujours = still

So second meaning is “still” in English.

Why using the same word? Are there no other words to say “still”? Uh… actually there is one. We use “encore”.

What do you mean? “Encore” means “again”, right? Yes, but it has two meanings 🙂

What? So, get back to “toujours” as “still”, for example:

– Pierre n’est pas rentré. Il est toujours/encore à l’école. (Pierre didn’t came back. He’s still at school.)

So, these are the two meanings of TOUJOURS. Most of time, you will understand which meaning it is but sometimes you will not. Let’s see this sentence.
– Sarah est toujours malade.
Um… what do you mean? She is always sick or she is still sick? So why not say “tout le temps” if it means “always”?

Tout le temps = always

TOUT LE TEMPS always means always. So we use it a lot.
– Il mange tout le temps du chocolat. (He always eats chocolate.)
– Il fait tout le temps gris. (It’s always cloudy.)
– Il pleure tout le temps. (He’s always crying.)
– A Paris, il pleuvait tout le temps. (At Paris, it was always raining.)

But TOUT LE TEMPS is not used with passé composé. We use mostly TOUJOURS:
– Je t’ai toujours aimé.
– I’ve always loved you.
It means ‘always’ but but we can see there is “still” a connection with the present. So that’s why.

If we say the same sentence but with ‘imparfait’, the meaning will be different.
– Je t’aimais toujours.
– I still loved you.
Because the ‘imparfait’ show a total disconnection with the present, ‘TOUJOURS’ cannot means always.