Can somebody please explain the difference between 都不是, 不都是, 都没有, and 不都有, and if possible give and example of the separate occasions when they should be used?

  • [not explained in available textbooks ???] 都不是: 不是, 不 negates 是, 不是 applies to all (of them) e.g. 都不是罪犯 none (neither) is a criminal, 不都是: 不 negates 都是, thus, e.g. 不都是罪犯 not all (not both) are criminals, similarly 都没有时间 none of them (neither) has time, 不都有时间 not all of them have time
    – user6065
    May 13, 2018 at 19:41
  • 都,不 both are adverbs, in any order the former applies to the latter, thus 都不 means 不。。。 is valid for all, 不都 means 都 。。。 is not valid (is negated)
    – user6065
    May 13, 2018 at 20:38

2 Answers 2


都不是 this means all of them are not EX:他们都不是中国人 means none of them is Chinese

不都是 this means not all of them are他们不都是中国人 means not all of them are Chinese (some of them maybe Chinese)

都没有 All don't have EX:我们都没有钱 means none of us have money

不都有 not all have EX:我们不都有钱 means not all of us have money

我们不都有钱 sounds a little strange, it could be 我们不是人人都有钱.


They are:

  • "都不是" means "[all things listed immediately prior] are not [instances of whatever is named immediately following]". Think: "。。。都 + 不是".
  • "不都是" means "it is not the case that [things listed prior] are [instances of whatever is named immediately following]". Think "不 + 都是".

The same goes with 没有, only this means "does not possess" the object named after, that is, that the named object is not integrated with the total list of things named prior in some fashion.

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