Advanced uses of "dou"
In its simplest terms, 都 (dōu) means "all," but there are also many other advanced uses for it.
都 Meaning "To the Point That"
都 can also mean 甚至 (shènzhì), meaning "even to the point that," and in this form it expresses emphasis.
Subj. + 都 + Predicate
- 我 很 想 妈妈 ，有时候 我 都 能 看见 她 。I really miss Mom. Sometimes I can even see her.
- 我 都 能 闻见 面包 的 香味 。I can even smell the aroma of bread.
- 我 对 你 太 了解 了 ，我 都 能 知道 你 下 一步 要 做 什么 。I know you too well. I can even tell what your next move will be.
- 你 说的 那些 我 都 能 想象 得到。I can imagine all those things that you said.
都 Meaning "Since..., then..."
"Since ..., in that case...“ can also be conveyed with 都 and a repeating verb, similar to "既然⋯⋯就".
Verb + 都 + Verb 了，...
- 来 都 来 了 ， 就 先 别 急着 走 了 。You're here already. No need to be in such a hurry to leave.
- 去 都 去 了 ， 就 好好 玩 吧。Go all the way, just have fun.
- 说 都 说 了 ， 就别说这是什么秘密了。Say what you want to say, just don't spill secrets.
都 Adding a Tone of Complaint
都 can also convey a tone of grumbling or complaint, frequently used with 怨 or 怪. You might argue that this is simply the "all" adverb 都, and you wouldn't be wrong, but this usage is so common that it's worth special attention.
都 + 怨 / 是 / 怪 + Somebody
- 都 怪 你，出门 不 带 伞。It's all your fault, leaving without bringing an umbrella.
- 都 是 你，害 我 跑 这么 远。It's because of you, making me go all that way.
- 都 怨 你，不 提前 订好 座位。I blame you for not making the reservation earlier.
- Expressing "even" with "shenzhi"
- Expressing "every" with "mei" and "dou"
- Explaining results with "suoyi"
- Expressing "all" with "shenme dou"
- Emphasizing quantity with "dou"
- Expressing "even" with "lian" and "dou"
- Expressing "already" with "dou"
Sources and further reading
- Chinese Grammar - Broken down into 100 items - Basic and Intermediate Levels (汉语语法百项讲练 - 初中级) (pp. 97-99) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- 现代汉语八百词（增订本） (pp. 178) [ →buy]