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Say It Right Series

Use of 都

Posted by Right-Wingnut September 16, 2013 in the Group Grammar Questions.

A quick question regarding the sentence "这些孩子我们都不喜欢".

Is 都 considered to go with 这些孩子 or with 我们?

That is, does the sentence say "We don't like all of these children" or does it say "All of us don't like these children". Or can it be interpreted either way?

You can say 这个孩子我们都不喜欢 which means "All of us don't like this child". You can also say 这些孩子我都不喜欢 meaning "I don't like all of these children". So the 都 can go with either the topic or the subject. My issue is how to interpret this sentence when both the topic and the subject are clearly plural.

I realise that there is very little difference between the two interpretations, other than what part of the sentence is being stressed. So what does this 都 stress - 'we' or 'the children'?

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