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Doing something more with "duo"

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In China, you often hear you should do this or that more (eat more, drink more water, wear more warm clothing etc.), and they often use the word 多 (duō). What's not intuitive to learners is that the word 多 should come before the verb.

Structure

This structure is often used in commands or suggestions. Note the position of 多:

多 + Verb

This structure is not used exclusively as a command, so you could also include a subject if you needed to.

Examples

In English we like to say things like "eat more" and "drink more beer" and "I need to exercise more." Notice that in every one of these cases, the word "more" (equivalent to this use of 多) comes after the verb in English. In Chinese, it's more natural to put the 多 before the verb.

  • 吃 点 。Duō chī diǎn.Eat a little more.
  • 放 点 辣 。Duō fàng diǎn là.Put a little more spice.
  • 拿 一点 。Duō ná yīdiǎn.Take more.
  • 爷爷 ,你 要 出去 走走 。Yéye, nǐ yào duō chūqù zǒuzou.You need to go out and take a walk more often.
  • 给 他 点 时间 吧 。Duō gěi tā diǎn shíjiān ba.Give him a little more time.
  • 我 想 陪陪 家人 。Wǒ xiǎng duō péipei jiārén.I want to spend more time with my family.
  • 感冒 的 时候 要 喝 水 。Gǎnmào de shíhou yào duō hē shuǐ.Drink more water when you have a cold.
  • 医生 让 我 运动 。Yīshēng ràng wǒ duō yùndòng.The doctor told me to exercise more.
  • 他 比 你 有 经验 ,你 应该 向 他 学习 。Tā bǐ nǐ yǒu jīngyàn, nǐ yīnggāi duō xiàng tā xuéxí.He's more experienced than you. You should learn from him more.
  • 想 提高 汉语 口语 ,就要 练习 。Xiǎng tígāo Hànyǔ kǒuyǔ, jiùyào duō liànxí.If you want to improve your speaking Chinese, you need to practice more.

Counter-Examples

Just to be completely clear, the following uses of 多 are not as natural as the ones above. They'll be understood, and they might not be technically wrong, but you can do better!

  • 点。Chī duō diǎn.
  • 我 要 回家点!Wǒ yào huíjiā duō diǎn!
  • 我 应该 运动 点。Wǒ yīnggāi yùndòng duō diǎn.

The opposite of 多 is, of course, 少. It is further explained in the article doing something less with "shao".

See also

Sources and further reading

Books