The position of the adverbs ‘也’, ‘都’, and ‘不’

A. ‘也‘ & ‘都’

 

First, I want to repeat one point: ‘很’ normally used to connect a subject and an ADJ, the function is to make the sentence sound more natural, it doesn’t have ‘very’ meaning here. ‘很+ADJ’ this part is called ‘Adjective predicate’.

 

The adverbs ‘也’(ye) and ‘都‘(dōu) must occur after the subject and before the predicative verb or adjective. For example:

Subject

Adv.

Verbal Predicate

Adj. Predicate

   

很忙。Hěnmáng

 

很忙。Hěnmáng

wǒmen

dōu

 

很忙。Hěnmáng

 

是美国人。

Shì Měiguó rén

 

是美国人。

Shì Měiguó rén

 

tāmen

dōu

是美国人。

Shì Měiguó rén

 

Translation:
* I’m busy.
* He is busy.
* We are all busy.
* She is American.
* He is American.
* They are all American.

 

If both ‘也’ and ‘都’ modify the predicate, ‘也‘ must be put before ‘都

 

Subject

Adv.

Verbal Predicate

Adj. Predicate

wǒmen

 

去了上海。

qù le Shànghǎi

 

tāmen

也都

yědōu

去了上海。

qù le Shànghǎi

*the subject of ‘都’ sentence must be plural.

wǒmen

 

说汉语。

Huì shuō Hànyǔ.

 

tāmen

也都

yědōu

说汉语。

Huì shuō Hànyǔ.

*the subject of ‘都’ sentence must be plural.

Translation:
* We went to Shanghai.
* All of them went to Shanghai, too.
* We can speak Chinese.
* All of them can speak Chinese, too.

 

B. ‘也‘ & ‘都’ & ‘不’

 

‘不’(bù) is an adverb in Chinese which means ’not/no’. To form a negative sentence, you just need to put ‘不’ before the verb or the adjective that you want to negate. When ‘不’ is immediately followed by another 4th tone syllable, the tone of (bù) is pronounced as the second tone (bú).


In a negative sentence, ‘也’ must be placed before ‘不’.

For example,

她不是学生。 Tā búshì xuésheng.
She is not a student.
他也不是学生。 Tā yě búshì xuésheng.
He is not a student, either.

我不忙。Wǒ bù máng
I’m not busy.
我妈妈也不忙。 Wǒ māma yě bù máng
My mom is not busy, either.

Nevertheless, you can place ‘都’(dōu) before or after ‘不’(bù), but the meaning of ‘都不’(dōubù) and ‘不都’(bùdōu) are different.

Compare:

我们都不是老师。Wǒmen dōu búshì lǎoshī.
None of us is a teacher.
我们不都是老师。Wǒmen dōu bú dōushì lǎoshī.
Not all of us are teachers.

 

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Ling

Ling

Hi, I’m Ling, a Chinese tutor and a language learning amateur. I create this blog with a goal to help Mandarin learners and Chinese culture lovers to study and know about this language by self-learning. Welcome to visit me from time to time and give me your precious advice! Thank you! 😛

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