City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Jun 10 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 35 views

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到底‘dàodǐ’ (at last, in the end, finally; after all, in the final analysis): When used with a verb, it signals that the event named by the verb happens or succeeds finally after undergoing a process.

1a. 找了几个月,到底找到了一份比较理性的工作。

Zhǎo le jǐ gè yuèdàodǐ zhǎodào le yī fèn bǐjiào lǐxìng de gōngzuò.

(After looking for a job for months, he found a relatively ideal one finally.)

1b. 下了一个星期的雨,今天早上天到底晴了。

Xià le yī gè xīngqī de yǔjīntiān zǎoshang tiān dàodǐ qíng le.

(After raining a week successively, it became clear this morning finally.)

The adverb ‘dàodǐ’ may occur in a question, it focuses on the speaker’s insistence on finding an answer:

2a. 对那件事你到底有什么看法?

Duì nàjiàn shì nǐ dàodǐ yǒu shénme kànfǎ.

(What are you driving at? What do you think of the matter after all?)

2b. 这个字到底是什么意思?

Zhè gè zì dàodǐ shì shénme yìsi.

(What does this character mean exactly?)

‘dàodǐ’ may express the meaning of ‘bìjìng’ (after all; when all is said and done), implying ‘self-evident’ reason:

3a. 人家到底是大学教授,问题解释得很透彻。

Rénjiā dàodǐ shì dàxué jiàoshòu, wèntí jiěshì de hěn tòuchè.

(He is a college professor after all, so he explained the issue clearly.)

3b. 名牌到底是名牌,质量就是好。

Míngpái dàodǐ shì míngpái, zhìliàng jiùshì hǎo.

(It is a famous brand after all, the quality is really good.)

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.

answered Jun 10 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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