Expressing "less than" with "budao"
Subj. + 不到 + Number + [Measure Word] + Noun
- 我 女儿 不到 三 岁 。My daughter is less than three years old.
- 我 昨天 睡 了 不到 五 个 小时 。 Yesterday I slept for less than five hours.
- 这 件 衣服 花 了 不到 一 百 块 。This piece of clothing costs less than 100 RMB.
- 我 家 到 公司 不到 五 百 米 。My house is less than 500 meters from the company.
- 在 美国 ，不到 21 岁 不 能 喝酒 。In America, people under 21 can't drink alcohol.
When 不到 is put before a time or a duration of time, it needs to be followed with 就. This shows that something (usually referring to the past) has happened earlier than usual.
Subj. + 不到 + Time + 就 + Predicate + 了
- 她 的 病 不到 一个 星期 就 好 了 。It took less than one week for her to recover from her sickness.
- 他们 认识 不到 两 个 月 就 结婚 了 。They've known each other for less than two months and are already married.
- 李 医生 不到 55 岁 就 退休 了 。Dr. Li is less than 55 years old and he already retired.
- 爷爷 不到 60 岁 就 去世 了 。My grandpa was less than 60 years old when he died.
- 老板 不到 30 岁 就 有 白 头发 了 。My boss is less than 30 years old and already has white hair showing on his head.
- Emphasizing quantity with "dou"
- Referring to "all" using "suoyou"
- Indicating a number in excess
- Indicating the whole with "quan"