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Expressing not knowing how to do something using "hao"

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不知道⋯⋯好 (bù zhīdào... hǎo) is an expression used to indicate and emphasize that the speaker does not know how to do something or at least does not know how to do something well.

Structure

Subj. + 不知道 + [Verb Phrase] + 好

This verb phrase usually includes a question word, like 什么, 谁, 怎么, 哪个, 哪里, 什么时候, etc.

You will sometimes see the adverb 才 preceding the 好, which serves the purpose of emphasis.

Examples

  • 我 真的 不 知道 怎么 Wǒ zhēnde bù zhīdào zěnme bàn cái hǎo.I really don't know what to do about this .
  • 我们 都 不 知道什么 Wǒmen dōu bù zhīdào shuō shénme hǎo.None of us knew what to say.
  • 这 件 事 我 不 知道Zhè jiàn shì wǒ bù zhīdào gēn shéi shuō hǎo.I'm not sure who to talk to about this matter.
  • 老板 不 知道 Lǎobǎn bù zhīdào guài shéi hǎo.The boss wasn't sure who to blame.
  • 他 的 短信 我 不 知道 怎么 回复 Tā de duǎnxìn wǒ bù zhīdào zěnme huífù hǎo.I don't know how to reply to his message.
  • 这些 钱 他 不 知道 放 在 哪儿 Zhèxiē qián tā bù zhīdào fàng zài nǎr cái hǎo.He doesn't know where to put this money.
  • 下雨天 我 不 知道 带 孩子 去 哪儿Xiàyǔ tiān wǒ bù zhīdào dài hāizi qù nǎr wán hǎo.On rainy days, I don't know where to take my kid to play.
  • 都 很 漂亮 ,我 不 知道哪 件 Dōu hěn piàoliang, wǒ bù zhīdào mǎi nǎ jiàn hǎo.They're all so pretty. I'm not sure which one to buy.
  • 好吃 的 太 多 了 ,孩子们 不 知道 先 吃 哪个 Hǎochī de tài duō le, háizi men bù zhīdào xiān chī nǎge cái hǎo.There was so much delicious food that the children didn't know where to start eating.
  • 我 想 问 ,可是 不 知道 什么 时候 Wǒ xiǎng wèn, kěshì bù zhīdào shénme shíhou wèn cái hǎo.I want to ask, but I'm not sure when to ask.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books