Chinese Grammar: Expressing contrariness with 倒
The word 倒 is fascinating in Chinese, and it has many practical usages.
Use 倒 when you want to express a point or to contrast two things.
However, it's not as simple as saying "but." 倒 stresses the "reverse" of things. You then use 倒 to indicate what's happening is unexpected.
倒 as a verb meaning "upside-down" and "to pour something"
The very primary use of 倒 is being a verb that means "upside down."
这 幅 画 挂 倒 了.
This painting is upside down.
倒 can also mean "to pour something."
to pour the water;
to fall down
倒 as a verb is very straightforward to use.
倒 as an adverb
倒 used as an adverb means "on the contrary," something contrary to what we are expecting. Usually, when this word is used, two sides of a situation are described, one positive, and one negative.
Expressing an unexpectedly positive situation
In this situation, you can describe, first, a negative situation and then add 倒 with a favorable position or remark to contrast.
Situation 1 + Negative side, (Situation 2) + 倒 + Positive side]
这个 饭店 环境 很 差 ， 菜 倒 挺好 吃 。
The environment of this restaurant is bad, but the dishes are pretty tasty.
他 经常 不 去 上课 ， 成绩 倒 考 得 不错 。
He usually doesn't go to classes; however, he has good grades.
虽然 天气 很 热 ， 倒是 有点 风 。
Though the weather is sweltering, (but) there is still a gentle breeze.
Expressing a concession and a complaint
In this case, you should announce the positive side after 倒 first and then add a conjunction word like 不过, 但是, 就是 to make a negative comment to oppose the former positive saying.
倒 + Positive side (concession) + 不过 / 但是 / 就是 + Negative side
这 条 裙子 倒是 很 好看 ， 就是 有点儿 贵 。
The dress looks pretty nice, but a little bit expensive.
北京 倒是 值得 一 去 ， 但是 人 太 多 了 。
Beijing is worth visiting; it's just that the people are too crowded.
他 这个 人 倒是 不错 ， 不过 不 爱 说话 。
He is a pretty nice guy, but he doesn't talk that much.
Sentence pattern with 得
When using 倒 as an adverb, you can also add 得 after a verb, directly followed by 倒 to describe something that is on the opposite side.
Subject + Verb + 得 + 倒 + Adjective
Note that in this structure, you need to follow the format: verb before 得 and adjective after 倒
This is a little unusual, but let's see some examples, and you'll understand how to use it.
你 说 得 倒 容易 ， 但是 也 得 付出 行动 啊 ！
It's easy for you to talk, but you should also take action!
在 这儿 吃 得 倒 不错 ， 就是 太 贵 了 。
It's nice to eat here; it's just that a little bit expensive.
每天 都 吃 饺子 ， 你 想 得 倒 美 ！
Eat dumplings every day? You are just dreaming! (because it is complicated to make)
Expressions with 倒
In daily life, you'll also hear some expressions with 倒 in spoken Chinese.
那 倒 也 是。
I guess so.