I just met in book such sort of expressions with ”宁愿...也不...“. I understand it like "rather...than...", but my question is: is it only book style or spoken as well, can I use such form in simple conversation?
Thank you!


3 Answers 3


can I use such form in simple conversation?

Yes. It's a common structure used in both written and spoken, formal and casual, context. E.g. 我宁愿把它扔掉也不给你。


When the context calls for it, use it in conversation, according to a quick survey of 2 friends!

I'd prefer to go by train.
I prefer to buy second hand.
I'd rather date a lead pipe.

  • That is good reminding that 宁愿 can be used by itself. Thank you! Dec 14, 2019 at 7:40

"宁愿...也不..." is actually more colloquial than "宁...不..."

"宁愿被殺也不投降" (colloquial)

"宁死不降" (literary)


"宁愿投降给美国,也不投降给苏朕" (colloquial)

"宁降美不降苏" (literary)



宁枉毋縱 (literary)

As you can see, literary phrases are much shorter, using them is speech have a lot of benefit.

In any case, both colloquial and literary phrases are commonly used in day to day speech and written text.

  • I've got it! Literary phrases are shorter, just like 单音词的文言文?很有趣! Dec 14, 2019 at 7:32

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