Expressing "every" with "mei" and "dou"
|Is similar to|
|Is used for||Expressing quantity|
"每...都..." (měi...dōu...) is a pattern used to express "every" when talking about a quantitative amount. This is similar to how we say "every day I eat cereal" or "every student passed the exam".
Using 每...都 to mean "every"
Using 每 and 都 together is pretty simple.
每 + Number + Measure Word + Noun + 都 + Adjective/Verb
Note is that if the number is simply just "one", then it's usually omitted.
- 我 每 （一） 个 星期 三 都 去 实习。I go to my internship every Wednesday.
- 他 每 （一） 天 都 上 班。He works every day.
- 我姐姐 每天 都要 弹 一小时 钢琴 。My old sister has to play the piano for one hour everyday.
- 我 每 天 都 学 两 个 小时 的 中 文。I study chinese for two hours everyday.
Just make sure that when you went to express "every one" with 每, as in "every day I take a nap", don't forget the 都! Sometimes you don't necessarily need it, but when in doubt, just use it to be safe! 都 can also be used to say "both" if there are only two things being referenced. It's possible to think of this as being "all two" of something, even if that sounds somewhat weird in English. It's just how Chinese says "both", by using the same word that it uses for other, larger numbers as well.
Using 每 and 都 when focusing on a certain action
In this grammar structure, we focus on every time a certain action is done, like "every time he speaks I can't understand him."
每 +Verb + Number+ 都 + Adjective/Verb
- 他 每 说 一 句 话，我 都 不 明白。every time he speaks I can't understand him.
- 她 每 参观一个 地方 都 要 拍照。Every time she visits some place, she takes photos.
- 我 每 看完 一部电影 都 想 跟 他讨论。Every time I finish watching a movie, I want to discuss it with him.
- 记住,每 写完一 篇 文章 都 要 保存。Remember, every time you finish an article, save it.
Sources and further reading
- Chinese: An Essential Grammar, Second Edition (pp. 87-8) →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 1, Part 1 (3rd ed) (pp. 267) →buy
- Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide (pp. 284-5) →buy