Expressing "every time" with "mei" and "dou"
每次⋯⋯ 都⋯⋯ (měi cì... dōu...) is a pattern used to express "every time." Translating from English, you might feel that the only part really needed is 每次 (měi cì), since it literally means "every time." This is incorrect! Not only is the adverb 都 (dōu) required, but it's arguably more vital than the 每次 (měi cì)! So it's important to get used to using both parts.
This pattern actually builds on the basic 每……都…… pattern, which you should already know. In this grammar structure, we go beyond just saying things like "every person" or "every day," and focus on what happens every time a certain action is done.
每次 + Event 1 + 都 + Event 2
- 她 每次 来 我 家 都 带 花 。She brings flowers every time she visits me.
- 为什么 每次 我 来 他 都 不 在 ？How come he's not here every time I come?
- 我 每次 玩 这个 游戏 都 输 。Every time I play this game, I lose.
- 你 怎么 每次 吃 火锅 都 拉肚子 ？How come you have diarrhea every time you eat hotpot?
- 他 每次 迟到 都 说 因为 堵车 。Every time he's late, he would say it's because of traffic jam.
- 我 每次 经过 这 家 店 都 会 进去 看看 。Every time I pass this shop, I go inside and take a look.
- 我 妹妹 每次 打针 都 哭 。My little sister cries every time she has to get a shot.
- 每次 遇到 生词 他 都 要 查 字典 。Every time he comes across a new word, he looks it up in the dictionary.
- 每次 编辑 都 要 保存 。Every time you edit, you should save it.
- 爸爸 每次 出差 都 给 我 买 礼物 。My father buys presents for me every time he goes on business trips.
- Pronoun "mei" for "every"
- Emphasising quantity with "dou"
- Events in quick succession with "yi... jiu..."
Sources and further reading
- Chinese: An Essential Grammar, Second Edition (pp. 87-8) →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 1, Part 1 (3rd ed) (pp. 267) →buy
- Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide (pp. 284-5) →buy