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All-inclusive with question words - negation

Hi ChinesePod team, my question is this:


I understand that when using ‘question words’ with dou1 that the meaning is changed for example:
shei2 dou1 becomes everyone
shenme shihou dou becomes always etc.

However, I’m confused with the negation.
I think the structure should be:

question word + ye/dou + bu/mei

can you confirm?

I become confused in deciding where ye should be used opposed to dou and vice-versa as I don’t think they’re interchangeable. Are there any rules or is it context based?

Please help!

Hi Craig,

You are on the right track! Actually, 也 [yě] and 都 [dōu] are interchangeable in negative forms. For example:

  • 你想要什么? (What do you want?)
    • 我什么都不要 [wǒ shí me dōu bù yào]
    • 我什么也不要 [wǒ shí me yě bù yào]
    • I don’t want anything.
  • 你问了谁? (Who did you ask?)
    • 我谁都没问 [wǒ sheí dōu méi wèn ]
    • 我谁也没问 [wǒ sheí yě méi wèn ]
    • I didn’t ask anyone.

However, this is not the case for the positive form. When we are answering an all inclusive question, we only use 都 [dōu].

  • 你想什么时候去?(When do you want to go?)
    • 什么时候都好 [shí me shí hòu dōu hǎo]
    • Anytime is good!
  • 你喜欢哪个?(Which one do you like?)
    • 我都喜欢 [wǒ dōu xǐ huān]
    • I like all of them.

Hope this helps!

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