Chinese Grammar: Indicating contrast with 则
Hey, little dragon! How's it going with 倒 to highlight the contrast between two situations? Good? Great!
Today, we will introduce you to another word to express contrast: 则. Let's explore how to contrast a little differently than 倒 with 则.
Instead of 倒, you can also use 则 to compare two things. Also a conjunction word, 则 is usually used to compare two clauses in written Chinese. You'll often come across it in Chinese classical literary prose when indicating contrast.
The difference between 倒 and 则
While 倒 places stress on the opposite side of what was previously said by the speaker, 则 expresses just “in contrast.” Thus, 则 has a somewhat "neutral attitude" when contrasting two things.
则 is quite close in meaning to 却, an easier way to say “but”. The only difference between the two is that 却 is used in spoken language and 则 is used in written Chinese.
Clause 1, 则 + Clause 2
南方比较 湿润，北方 则 相对 干燥。
The south is rather humid, but the north is relatively dry.
他 来自 北方 ， 她 则 来自 南方。
He is from the north, while she is from the south.
他 的 朋友 来 了 ， 他 则 走 了 。
His friend is coming; in contrast, he is leaving.
东西 多 了 ， 则 不 珍惜 了 。
The more one has, the less one will cherish.
Another pattern you can use with 则 is 则 with 而 to contrast two clauses:
Clause 1, + 而 + Subject + 则 + Predicate
他 想 买 苹果 ， 而 她 则 想 买 香蕉。
He wants to buy apples, while she wants to buy bananas.
大家 晚上 睡觉 ， 而 他 则 白天 睡觉。
All of us sleep at night, but he sleeps in the daytime.
妻子 想 去 中国 ， 而 丈夫 则 想 去 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 ， 而 有些 则 无法 挽回 。
Some mistakes can be mended, while others simply cannot.