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Question regarding "absolute" expressions like 什么都


Yinyue

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Hello dear community,

 

my question is about "absolute" expressions like the one above.

 

One can say, for example,

 

什么都. (He buys everything.)

 

Then:

 

- How would one say: "He buys everything (that) he likes." ?

 

- I like everything he buys (my guess for that would be 买的我都...or is 我都买的 more correct?).

 

Thanks in advance :)

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他买什么都. (He buys everything.)

 

This shoudl be 他什么都买

 

 

I like everything he buys (my guess for that would be 买的我都...or is 我都买的 more correct?).

 

The first one is right, but normally you would use 喜欢 rather than 爱, so it's 他买的我都喜欢

 

 

 

 How would one say: "He buys everything (that) he likes." ?

 

I think for this one you need an object - 他喜欢的东西都买

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Perhaps the most fundamental difference between English and Chinese in this respect is the tendency for English to treat the absolute as a noun or pronoun; in Chinese, it is usually expressed as an adverb.

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These sentences express different things and need to be translated differently. Unfortunately, although they have similar structure in European languages, this does not mean that they will have a similar structure in Chinese.

He buys everything = 他买所有的东西

He buys everything he likes = If he likes something, he buys it = 他喜欢什么,就买什么

I like everything he buys = The stuff he buys, I like all of it = 他买的东西,我都喜欢

There is not single "translation" for the concept "everything" that you can universally use in Chinese. These are all useful grammar patterns to learn.

所有的东西 means "all the things". The alternative, 他什么都买 sounds odd on its own

V1 什么, V2 什么 is used to say that if V1 happens to something, then V2 will happen to that same thing. If he likes it, he buys it.

In the third sentence, you use 都 and not 什么都 because you are referring to a specific set of things (the things that he buys). 什么都 is context-free.

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Thanks for the replies, they are very useful. Yeah, the "absolute" is treated kinda like an adverb, I see that now!

 

But @renzhe, isn't  他什么都买 - as formerly stated by @fanglu, also possible? I thought it is...

 

...and also, for the other case, 他喜欢的东西都买. ?

 

Never mind if it is good or bad expression in Chinese for now, only if it is grammatically and semantically correct.

However, I will memorize the examples you've given anyway, they appear to be useful!

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他什么都买 is correct, but it sounds a bit odd to me when used alone like that, without context. It could be used in a conversation, though, like:

A: 他买什么?

B: 他什么都买!

As for the second question, you could also say 他喜欢的东西,他都买 (note that 他 must be repeated). Again, 都 refers to the first part of the sentence, which specifies what is meant, so you can't use 什么都 which would mean REALLY everything.

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Am I the only one who thinks "he buys everything" sounds a bit strange? Do you actually mean "he buys anything [he wants]"? "Everything" is usually used in a specific context, e.g. "He bought everything in the shop."

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Maybe "to buy" is not the best verb for giving examples. As an exaggeration, however, one might as well say "He buys everything" , I suppose. I think you get the point :wink:

 

@renzhe: Why does  他 have to be repeated in the example 他喜欢的东西,他都买. ?

 

Of course those things depend on the context - especially because Chinese is a highly contextual language. At my level, it is good and important to know that I understand things, I'm gonna deal with good expression and stuff later on (even though it is not bad if I'm learning this on the way here). So thanks for your remarks.

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他买什么都is not a whole sentence,if you want to use it here are some examples:

他买什么都 不问价格。He buys everything without ask for the price/

他买什么东西都要买红色的。 He buys everthing in red color.

他去哪儿都 骑车。    He goes to everywhere by bike。

Hope it will be helpful for you.

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