Expressing "all" with "shenme dou"

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Level A2
Is similar to
Is used for Expressing quantity
Keywords 什么, ,
Translations all, every

"什么... 都/也" (shénme... dōu/yě) is a pattern often used to express "all" or "everything." This pattern also works with other question words, such as 哪儿 and 什么时候.

Basic Structures

什么 都/也

The structure is very clear, as many Chinese grammar points are. In this structure, 都 is more frequently used than 也。

Topic + 什么 + 都/也 + Verb/Adjective

Examples

  • 我 家 什么 有。 My family has everything.
  • 爸爸 什么 知道。 My dad knows everything.
  • 什么 喜欢吃。 I like eating everything.
  • 中国 酒,外国 酒,我 什么 喝。 Chinese liquor, foreign liquor, I drink everything.
  • 我 女 朋友 什么 买。 My girlfriend buys everything.
  • 我 家 的 宝宝 什么 要。 The baby in my family wants everything.
  • 什么 告诉 我。 She told me everything.
  • 很 多 人 觉得 外国 的 东西 什么 好。 Many people think that all foreign things are good.
  • 上海 什么 贵。 Everything in Shanghai is expensive.
  • 她 的 房间 里 什么 是 红色 的。 Everything is red in her room.
  • 什么 没 说。 He didn't tell anything .
  • 我 觉得 这里 什么 好吃。 I think everything is delicious here.

Targeted Structures

Structures with a Noun

什么 + Noun + 都

什么 + Noun + 也

Examples with Nouns

  • 你 做 的 什么 好吃。All of the dishes you make are good.
  • 现在 什么 地方 热。Right now it's hot everywhere.
  • 什么 衣服 是 红色 的。All of her clothes are red.
  • 我 觉得 我 老公 什么 好。I think everything about my husband is good.
  • 什么 女孩子 喜欢。I like all girls.
  • 我们 什么 喝。We can drink all alcohol.
  • 大 城市 什么 有。Big cities have all kinds of people.
  • 你 不 应该 什么 跟 他 说。You shouldn't have told everything to him.
  • 什么 水果 喜欢 吃。I like to eat all kinds of fruits.
  • 今天 我 什么 工作 做 了。Today I did all my work.

Negative Structures

Structures with 不/没

The negative structure simply adds a 不 or a 没 after the 都/也. Instead of "all" or "everything," this expresses "none" or "not any."

什么 + Noun. + 都/也 + 不

什么 + Noun + 都/也 + 没

Negative Examples

  • 以后 你 应该 什么 要 喝。From now on, you should not drink any wine.
  • 什么 电影 喜欢 看。I don't like to watch any kind of movie. (implying I don't like movies in general)
  • 很 多 人 觉得 中国 什么 东西 好。Many people think that all of the things you can get in China are bad.
  • 小 城市 什么 东西 贵。Things in small cities are not expensive at all.
  • 什么 女孩子 喜欢。I don't like girls at all.
  • 为什么 你 什么 工作 做?Why haven't you finished all of the work?
  • 今天 我 什么 东西 吃。Today I didn't eat anything.
  • 什么 跟 我 说。She didn't tell me anything.
  • 我 家 什么 东西 有。My family doesn't have anything.
  • 周末 的 时候,我 什么 地方 去。During the weekend, I didn't go anywhere.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books