Expressing contrariness with "dao"

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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.

Structure

⋯⋯ ,Subj. + 倒 + (也 / 又) ⋯⋯

Examples

Sometimes "actually" works well in translations to indicate the contrast between expectation and reality.

  • 我 帮 他, 不 是 因为 喜欢 他,是 因为 他 工作 很 努力 。Wǒ bāng tā, dào bù shì yīnwèi xǐhuan tā, shì yīnwèi tā gōngzuò hěn nǔlì.I helped him not because I liked him, but because he worked very hard.
  • 他 不 是 很 努力 ,成绩 也 不错 。Tā bù shì hěn nǔlì, chéngjì dào yě bùcuò.He's not very hard-working, but his scores also aren't bad.
  • 已经 是 春天 了, 又 冷 起来 了。Yǐjīng shì chūntiān le, dào yòu lěng qǐlái le.It's already spring, but it's actually getting colder.
  • 不 吃 药 ,病 慢慢 好 了。Bù chī yào, bìng dào mànman hǎo le.Without taking any medicine, I'm actually slowly getting better.
  • 英语 不 是 他 的 母语 ,他 说 得 挺 地道 的 。Yīngyǔ bù shì tā de mǔyǔ, tā shuō de dào tǐng dìdào de.English is not his mother language, but he speaks quite native-like.

Using 倒 as "Despite"

Structure

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 ⋯⋯

Examples

  • 是 想 去 旅游 ,但是 现在 太 忙 了,没有 时间 。dào shì xiǎng qù lǚyóu, dànshì xiànzài tài máng le, méiyǒu shíjiān.I do want to go on a trip, but I am too busy to do so now.
  • 这 篇 文章 的 内容 不错 ,就是 太 长 了 。Zhè piān wénzhāng de nèiróng dào bùcuò, jiùshì tài cháng le.The content of this article is great, but it's just too long.
  • 这 件 衣服 的 样式 和 大小 都 合适 ,可是 我 不 喜欢 这 个 颜色 。Zhè jiàn yīfú de yàngshì hé dàxiǎo dào dōu héshì, kěshì wǒ bù xǐhuān zhège yánsè.The style and size of this piece of clothing actually work well, but I don't like the color.
  • 你们 的 服务 不错 ,但是 对 我 来说 太 贵 了 。Nǐmen de fúwù dào bùcuò, dànshì duì wǒ lái shuō tài guì le.Your service is great, but it's too expensive for me.
  • 想 陪 你 一起 去 ,不过 要 等 到 周末 。dào xiǎng péi nǐ yīqǐ qù, bùguò yào děngdào zhōumò.I really would like to go with you, but you would need to wait until the weekend.

For more on , be sure to check our C1 grammar point on even more advanced uses of 倒.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books