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Difference between 连 and 甚至


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Hi all,

I'm just a bit confused about when to use 连 and when to use 甚至. I know they both mean 'even', but when to use them? My teacher said 甚至 was more formal than 连 and I also know that the structure of a '连 sentence' is different to a 甚至 one, namely the use of 都/也 after the object, eg. 他连英语都/也不懂, whereas with 甚至 it's just 他甚至不懂英语。 Do these sentences have the same meaning? Is one preferred over another? Is one more formal than the other?

Incidentally, does it matter which of 都 or 也 you use after the object in the 连 sentences?

Also, does 甚至于=甚至?

Thanks in advance,


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I am really glad you are interested in Chinese.

The is no big difference between the two using, but the tone of "甚至“ is some kind of stronger then "连”.

When you say "他甚至不懂英语“,you always have to stress the pronunciation of "甚至” to express your surprise, or other motions.

When you say "他连英语都不懂“,you just state the truth ,and your the motion is not so strong.

You can also say "他甚至连英语都不懂” .This sentence's tone is the strongest.

Anyway , the moset important thing for you is to say the sentences fluently, and whatever sentence you say ,Chinese people can understand your basic ideas.

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I think your teacher was right. "甚至" is more formal than "连". In spoken Chinese,

most time, we use "连" rather than "甚至" which is preferred in writing, especially in

formal one. You can use "甚至" both in speaking and writing, but in formal writing,

"连" is used rarely. I think it is because "连" is more emotional or subjective. When

you say "他连英语都/也不懂", the implication is "everyone can, but he can't", and in

some context it means that you look down upon him. Compared with "连", "甚至" is

more objective, it can be used just for emphasis without showing your feeling, but

"连" is usually connected with personal emotion, like surprising or despising.

So, if you just want to express emphasis without showing personal emotion, like in

formal writing, you should pick "甚至"; When you want to express your feeling, like

in chat, "连" is preferred. In speaking, You also can use them at same time like

"他甚至连英语都不懂". Here, "连" is used to show your feeling and "甚至" is used

for emphasis.

As to 甚至于 and 甚至, I think the express same meaning.

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Also, in which case would one use 都 and in which case would one use 也?

I think there is no big difference between 都 and 也 when used after 连. you can say "他连英语都不懂" or "他连英语也不懂", they express same meaning in most context.

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