Emphasizing quantity with "dou"
都 (dōu) is one of those words that on the surface may seem simple, but actually has many different subtle uses. In this article, we will look at using 都 (dōu) to emphasize quantity.
You can use 都 (dōu) to emphasize the large quantity of something. The subject should be some sort of large group (like a majority of people or things), e.g. 很多人 (hěn duō rén) or 大家 (dàjiā).
Subj. + 都 + Verb + Obj.
Examples with 很多 (hěn duō)
First let's look at some typical examples using 很多 (hěn duō) to emphasize that it's "a lot." Note that in English, it would be totally redundant and unnecessary to add "all" into these sentences, but in Chinese it's totally natural (and kind of weird not to). If you remember to follow the rule and keep using the 都 (dōu), eventually it will become more natural for you too.
- 很 多 地方 都 有 wifi。A lot of places have wifi.
- 我 的 很 多 朋友 都 有 车。A lot of my friends have cars.
- 很 多 美国人 都 喜欢 喝 咖啡 。 A lot of Americans like drinking coffee.
- 很 多 孩子 都 不 喜欢 上学。A lot of kids don't like to go to school.
- 很 多 年轻人 都 想 在 大 城市 工作。A lot of young people want to go to work in big cities.
Examples with 大家 (dàjiā)
Now let's look at some examples using 大家 (dàjiā) or "everyone." Again, in English, it would be totally redundant and unnecessary to add "all" into these sentences, but in Chinese it's totally natural (and kind of weird not to). You just have to get used to it.
- 大家 都 来 了 吗？Is everyone here?
- 大家 都 应该 知道。Everyone should know.
- 大家 都 说 你 很 聪明。Everyone says you're smart.
- 大家 都 忘 了 他 的 名字。Everyone forgot his name.
- 大家 都 喜欢 吃辣 吗？Does everyone like eating spicy food?
Examples with 每天 (měi tiān)
One other common way to use 都 (dōu) is when you're talking about something that happens really often, such as "every day": 每天 (měi tiān). Use 都 (dōu) here in Chinese, even if it feels unnatural. (Fake it 'til you make it!)
- 我 每天 都 要 上班 。 I have to go to work every day.
- 老师 每天 都 迟到。 The teacher comes late every day.
- 她 每天 都 不 吃 早饭。 Every day, she does not eat breakfast.
- 我 女朋友 每天 都 上 淘宝 。 Taobao is China's biggest online shopping website.My girlfriend goes on Taobao every day.
- 妈妈 每天 都 给 我们 做 晚饭。 Mom cooks dinner for us every day.
For more uses with 每 (měi), see also: Expressing "every" with "mei".
Here are some other examples that don't use 很多 (hěn duō) or 大家 (dàjiā) or 每天 (měi tiān), but are still quite typical:
- 美国人 都 说 英文。Americans all speak English.
- 我们 五 个 人 都 去。 All five of us are going.
- 四川人 都 喜欢 吃辣。Sichuanese people all like eating spicy food.
- 我 的 家人 都 没 去 过 中国。None of my family members has been to China.
- 我 的 学生 都 喜欢 问 问题。 My students all like to ask questions.
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. 313) [ →buy]
- 卓越汉语－公司实战篇 (pp. 210) [ →buy]
- Basic Patterns of Chinese Grammar (pp. 34) →buy