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Chinese Grammar: Indicating contrast with 则

Hey, little dragon! How's it going with to contrast two situations? Good? Great!

Today, we are going to introduce you to another word to express contrast: . Let's explore how to contrast a little bit differently than .


Instead of , you can also use to compare two things. It’s a conjunction word, and it is usually used for comparing two clauses in written Chinese. In fact, you'll often find it in Chinese classical literary prose when indicating contrast.

The difference between and

stress more about the opposite side of what is previously said by the speakers; however, expresses just “in contrast”. has a rather "neutral attitude" when used to contrast two things. If you already know , an easier way to say “but”, you should know that the only difference between the two is that is used in spoken language and is used in written Chinese.

Structure I

Clause 1, + Clause 2


南方比较 湿润北方 相对 干燥
The south is rather humid, but the north is relatively dry.

来自 北方 来自 南方
He is from the north, while she is from the south.

His friend is coming; in contrast, he is leaving.

东西 珍惜
The more one has, the less one will cherish.

Another pattern you can use with to contrast the two clause is here :

Structure II

Clause 1, + + Subject + + Predicate


苹果 香蕉
He wants to buy apples, while she wants to buy bananas.

大家 晚上 睡觉 白天 睡觉
All of us sleep at night, but he sleeps in the daytime.

妻子 中国 丈夫 日本
His wife wants to go to China, while her husband wants to go to Japan.

有些 错误 可以 弥补 有些 无法 挽回
Some mistakes can be mended, while others simply cannot.

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