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Expressing "let alone" with "hekuang"

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何况 (hékuàng) can mean "let alone" or "all the more." It can be used in the following structure:

何况 within a rhetorical question

Structure

Subj. + 连 ⋯⋯ 都 + Verb ,何况 ⋯⋯ 呢 ?

呢 often appears at the end of this structure, to form a rhetorical question. 更 or 又 can be added to 何况 to add further emphasis.

何况 can be used in two ways, the first of which where 何况 is used to emphasize that A is easier than B.

Examples

  • 这 句 话 孩子 懂 ,何况 大人 Children can understand what this sentence means, let alone the adults.
  • 那么 难 的 题 会,何况 一个 这么 简单 的 题 He can answer a question that hard, let alone answer one that easy.

In the above sentences, as A is so easy, then B must be even easier. However if one adds a 不 or 没 before the verb then the meaning is reversed: now A is so hard, B would almost be impossible.

Subj. + 连 ⋯⋯ 都 + 不 / 没 + Verb ,何况 ⋯⋯ 呢 ?

  • 我 奶奶 高铁 没 坐 过 ,何况 飞机 My grandmother hasn't even taken the high-speed train, let alone the airplane.
  • 宝宝 不 会,更 何况The baby can't even walk, let alone run.
  • 他 叫 什么 不 知道 ,又 何况 他 的 电话 号码 I don't even know what his name is, let alone his phone number.

何况 doesn't necessarily have to be used with the 连⋯⋯ 都⋯⋯ structure, and can be used as a simple statement instead of a rhetorical question.

何况 in a statement

Structure

Subj. (+ 尚且) + 都 / 就 ⋯⋯ ,(更)何况 ⋯⋯

Examples

  • 他 在家 不 爱 说话 ,何况 是 在 外面 ?He don't talk much at home, let alone on public occasion.
  • 这个 东西 两 个 男人 搬 不 动 ,何况 一 个 女人 ?Two men can't move this this, let alone a single woman.
  • 这个 地方 本来 不 好 找 ,更何况 你 是 第一 次 来 ?This place has always been hard to find, especially on your first time.
  • 大人 尚且 做 不 到 ,更何况 孩子 ?Adults can't even do this, let alone children.
  • 中国 人 尚且 不 了解 ,更何况 外国 人 ?Chinese people don't even know much about it, let alone foreigners.

何况 is often used with 尚且, a formal way of saying 还. 更 can be added to 何况 to add further emphasis.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books