Using "nanguai" as a verb
难怪 (nán guài) can mean "no wonder," but when used as a verb can be translated as "hard to blame," a much more literal application. This phrase is usually directed at a person, and it is similar to how in English we may say, "he's always sleepy, but you can't blame him because he works a night shift."
难怪 as a Verb
When used as a verb, 难怪 expresses that the speaker assigns no blame in the situation. Most often a person is placed after 难怪.
难怪 + [Specific Person / People] ……
- 他 迟到 了 ， 这 也 难怪。 今天 地铁 坏 了 。He's late, but we can't blame him for that. The subway broke down today.
- 难怪 他，他 还 是 个 孩子 呢，什么 都 不 懂。Don't blame him, he's just a child. He doesn't know any better.
- 这 也 难怪 你，第一 次 到 这 个 地方 还 不 了解 这里 的 风俗。No one can blame you for this. It's your first time in this place, and you aren't familiar with the local customs.
- 这 也 难怪，他 刚 来 嘛 ， 算了 算了 。Don't blame him. He just got here, let's just forget about it.
- 这 也 难怪，他 已经 七十 岁 了，不 适合 做 高 强度 的 运动 。We can't blame him. He is already seventy years old and is not suitable for high-intensity exercise.
- 孩子 把 爸爸 最 喜欢 的 花瓶 打 碎 了，也 难怪 爸爸 为什么 这么 生气 了。The child smashed his father's favorite vase. You can't blame the father for getting so angry.
- 如果 你 一定 要 晚上 弹 钢琴 ，那 就 难怪 邻居 抱怨 你。If you insist on playing the piano at night, you cna't blame the neighbors for complaining about you.
- 你 也 太 不 爱 说话 了，难怪 你 老婆 说 和 你 说话 真 是 浪费 时间 。You're not much of a talker. You can't blame your wife for for saying that talking to you is a total waste of time.
- 本来 这 道 题 就 有 争议，也 难怪 学生 答 错 了。This question was always controversial, so you cna't blame the students for getting it wrong.
- 你 把 给 他的 礼物 给了 别人，也 难怪 他 不 高兴 了。 You gave the gift that was supposed to be for him to someone else. You can't blame him for being unhappy.
You can see how for some of these examples it wouldn't hard to use a "no wonder" translation. There is definitely a connection between this literal usage and the idiomatic "no wonder" usage.
Sources and further reading
- 现代汉语八百词（增订本） (pp. 239, 408) [ →buy]