Expressing contrariness with "dao"
倒 (dào) can be used to express something is contrary to expectations, acting as a turning point in the sentence. It is generally followed by a positive comment.
Using 倒 as "However"
倒 can be used to express an unexpected situation. Note that 倒 is often followed by 也 or 又 to add further emphasis.
⋯⋯ ，Subj. + 倒 + (也 / 又) ⋯⋯
Sometimes "actually" works well in translations to indicate the contrast between expectation and reality.
- 我 帮 他， 倒 不 是 因为 喜欢 他，是 因为 他 工作 很 努力 。I helped him not because I liked him, but because he worked very hard.
- 他 不 是 很 努力 ，成绩 倒 也 不错 。He's not very hard-working, but his scores also aren't bad.
- 已经 是 春天 了，倒 又 冷 起来 了。It's already spring, but it's actually getting colder.
- 不 吃 药 ，病 倒 慢慢 好 了。Without taking any medicine, I'm actually slowly getting better.
- 英语 不 是 他 的 母语 ，他 说 得 倒 挺 地道 的 。English is not his mother language, but he speaks quite native-like.
Using 倒 as "Despite"
倒 can also be used to express a concession, mostly emphasizing the positive side. 就是、但是、可是、不过 are often used to precede the undesirable reality the speaker is calling attention to.
Subj. + 倒 ⋯⋯ ，不过 / 但是 / 就是 ⋯⋯
- 我 倒 是 想 去 旅游 ，但是 现在 太 忙 了，没有 时间 。I do want to go on a trip, but I am too busy to do so now.
- 这 篇 文章 的 内容 倒 不错 ，就是 太 长 了 。The content of this article is great, but it's just too long.
- 这 件 衣服 的 样式 和 大小 倒 都 合适 ，可是 我 不 喜欢 这 个 颜色 。The style and size of this piece of clothing actually work well, but I don't like the color.
- 你们 的 服务 倒 不错 ，但是 对 我 来说 太 贵 了 。Your service is great, but it's too expensive for me.
- 我 倒 想 陪 你 一起 去 ，不过 要 等 到 周末 。I really would like to go with you, but you would need to wait until the weekend.
- Expressing contrariness with "dao"
- The "However" Adverb "que"
- "On the Contrary" with "fan'er"
- Conceding a Point with "shi"
Sources and further reading
- HSK Standard Course 4下 (pp. 89) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- Chinese Grammar - Broken down into 100 items - Basic and Intermediate Levels (汉语语法百项讲练 - 初中级) (pp. 140-3) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- New Practical Chinese Reader 5 (新实用汉语课本5) (pp. 52) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- HSK Standard Course 5上 (pp. 64) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy