The Function of ‘连 (lián)…都 (dōu)’ in Emphasizing Extent in Mandarin HSK2-3

In Mandarin Chinese, various linguistic structures contribute to the depth and expressiveness of the language. Among these, ‘连 (lián)…都 (dōu)’ is a particularly powerful construct used to emphasize the extent or degree of a situation or action. This article explores the function, usage, and nuances of ‘连 (lián)…都 (dōu)’ in Mandarin, highlighting its significance in enhancing the expressiveness of the language.

Understanding ‘连 (lián)…都 (dōu)’

The phrase’ 连 (lián)…都 (dōu)’ literally translates to “even” in English. It’s used to highlight a surprising or unexpected situation, emphasizing the extent or degree to which a statement holds true.

Basic Structure

  • 连 (lián) + [Unexpected or Extreme Example] + 都 (dōu) + [Statement]

This structure draws attention to the extremity or unexpectedness of the mentioned example.

Usage in Sentences

‘连 (lián)…都 (dōu)’ is versatile and can be used in various types of sentences to convey surprise, emphasis, or an unexpected situation.

Highlighting Surprise: “连小孩子都懂这个问题 (Lián xiǎoháizi dōu dǒng zhège wèntí)” – “Even children understand this question.”

Emphasizing Extent: “连最简单的菜他都做不好 (Lián zuì jiǎndān de cài tā dōu zuò bù hǎo)” – “He can’t even cook the simplest dish.”

Conveying Intensity and Emphasis

The use of ‘连 (lián)…都 (dōu)’ effectively adds intensity and emphasis to a statement. It can transform a simple sentence into a more powerful expression conveying astonishment or unexpectedness.

In Mandarin, this structure is often used to underscore the speaker’s strong feelings or to highlight exceptions. It reflects a communication style that values emphasis and conveys emotions or attitudes through language.

Comparative Expressions

While ‘连 (lián)…都 (dōu)’ is a unique construct in Mandarin, other phrases also serve to emphasize extent or surprise, such as ‘甚至 (shènzhì)’ meaning “even to the extent of.”


The use of ‘连 (lián)…都 (dōu)’ in Mandarin is a testament to the language’s capability to succinctly and effectively express complex emotions and thoughts. It enriches Mandarin discourse by allowing speakers to emphasize the extent of a situation or action in an impactful and nuanced way. Understanding and utilizing this structure is vital for anyone looking to convey depth and intensity in their Mandarin communication.

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