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Expressing "every" with question words

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This grammar point is not about how to use 每 (měi) to mean "every," but rather how to combine question words with (dōu) to make words and phrases like "everywhere" or "everyone." You may have learned this same pattern for expressing "everything," but now it's time to extend it.

"Everyone" with 谁 都

谁 都 (shéi dōu) is a pattern used to express "everyone" (or possibly "anyone") in Chinese. The placement of the question word 谁 is very similar to the way 什么 (shénme) can be used to express "every", along with other question words like 哪儿 (nǎr) and 多少 (duōshǎo).

Structure

谁 + 都 + Predicate

The predicate part of the pattern can be a verb or an adjective.

Examples

  • 喜欢 美食 。Shéi dōu xǐhuan měishí.Everyone likes delicious food.
  • 可以 进 。Shéi dōu kěyǐ jìn.Everyone can come in.
  • 不 相信 他 说 的 话 。Shéi dōu bù xiāngxìn tā shuō de huà.No one believes what he said.

"Everywhere" with 哪儿 都

This pattern also works with 哪儿 (nǎr).

Structure

哪儿 / 哪里 (+ Verb) + 都 + Predicate

Examples

  • 他 的 房间 里 哪儿 是 脏 衣服 。Tā de fángjiān lǐ nǎr dōu shì zāng yīfu.His dirty laundry is all over his room.
  • 我 太 累 了,哪儿 不 想 去 。Wǒ tài lèi le, nǎr dōu bù xiǎng qù.I'm too tired. I don't want to go anywhere.
  • 哪里 见面 行 。Zài nǎlǐ jiànmiàn dōu xíng.I'm fine with meeting anywhere.

"Whenever" with 什么时候 都

什么时候 (shénme shíhou) combines with 都 (dōu) to mean "whenever" or "anytime."

Structure

什么时候 (+ Verb) + 都 + Predicate

Examples

  • 什么 时候 可以 。Shénme shíhou dōu kěyǐ.Anytime is fine.
  • 什么 时候 欢迎 。shénme shíhou lái dōu huānyíng.You're welcome to come anytime.
  • 什么 时候 开始 不 晚 。Shénme shíhou kāishǐ dōu bù wǎn.It's never too late to start.

"However Much" with 多少 都

多少 (duōshao) also works with 都 in this case.

Structure

Verb + 多少 + 都 + Predicate

Examples

  • 你 想 吃 多少 可以 。Nǐ xiǎng chī duōshao dōu kěyǐ.You can eat however much you want.
  • 这些 是 免费 的 ,我们 拿 多少 没 问题 。Zhèxiē shì miǎnfèi de, wǒmen ná duōshao dōu méi wèntí.These are all free. We can take as much as we want.
  • 我 跟 他 说 多少 没有 用 。Wǒ gēn tā shuō duōshǎo biàn dōu méiyǒu yòng.It doesn't matter how many times I tell him.

"However" with 怎么 都

怎么 (zěnme) also works with 都 in this case.

Structure

怎么 + Verb + 都 + Predicate

Examples

  • 怎么 可以 吗 ? Zěnme zuò dōu kěyǐ ma? Is it OK if I do whatever I want?
  • 这些 钱 你 怎么 行 。Zhèxiē qián nǐ zěnme huā dōu xíng.You can spend this money however you like.
  • 别人 怎么 不 重要 。 Biérén zěnme xiǎng dōu bù zhòngyào.It's not important what other people think.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books