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.

Structure

难怪 + [Specific Person / People] ……

Examples

  • 他 迟到 了 , 这 也 难怪。 今天 地铁 坏 了 。Tā chídào le, zhè yě nánguài. Jīntiān dìtiě huài le.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。Nánguài tā, tā háishì gè háizi ne, shénme dōu bù dǒng.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。Zhè yě nánguài nǐ, dì-yī cì dào zhège dìfang hái bù liǎojiě zhèlǐ de fēngsú.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 。Zhè yě nánguài, tā gāng lái ma, suànle suànle.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 。Zhè yě nánguài, tā yǐjīng qīshí suì le, bù shìhé zuò gāo qiángdù de yùndòng.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。Háizi bǎ bàba zuì xǐhuan de huāpíng dǎ suì le, yě nánguài bàba wèishénme zhème shēngqì le.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。Rúguǒ nǐ yīdìng yào wǎnshang tán gāngqín, nà jiù nánguài línjū bàoyuàn nǐ.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 。Nǐ yě tài bù ài shuōhuà le, nánguài nǐ lǎopo shuō hé nǐ shuōhuà zhēn shì làngfèi shíjiān.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。Běnlái zhè dào tí jiù yǒu zhēngyì, yě nánguài xuéshēng dā cuò le.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。 Nǐ bǎ gěi tā de lǐwù gěi le biérén, yě nánguài tā bù gāoxìng le.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.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books

Dictionaries

HSK5