Getting started with Chinese 2
Getting started with Chinese 2

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Getting started with Chinese 2

4 Use of dōu (both/all)

The adverb dōu 都 (both/all) is placed before the verb in statements. Depending on the meaning of the sentence, when negated it can be placed before or after the negation word. Learn more about its usage by having a go at Activity 4.

Activity 4

The following Chinese sentence should read 'Are all the teachers British?'. Is this true or false?

Lǎoshīmen dōu shì Yīngguó rén ma? 老师们都是英国人吗?

a. 

True


b. 

False


The correct answer is a.

Where should dōu be placed in a sentence?

a. 

at the beginning as in the English sentence.


b. 

before the verb (e.g., ‘shì’).


The correct answer is b.

The following Chinese sentence should read 'Not all of them are doctors'. Is this true or false?

Tāmen dōu bù shì yīshēng. 他们都不是医生。

a. 

True


b. 

False


The correct answer is b.

Discussion

The answer is: False. This sentence means ‘None of them are doctors’. To convey ‘not all of them’, dōu 都 should be placed between bù 不 and shì 是: Tāmen bù dōu shì yīshēng. 他们不都是医生。

The following Chinese sentence should read 'Not all of us live in London.' Is this true or false?

Wǒmen bù dōu zhù zài Lúndūn. 我们不都住在伦敦。

a. 

True


b. 

False


The correct answer is a.

So, we can conclude that dōu bù 都不 and bù dōu 不都 have different meanings. Which means what?

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. dōu bù 都不

  2. bù dōu 不都

  • a.partial negation/not all

  • b.total negation/none

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = b
  • 2 = a
LXC002_1

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