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标准教程HSK4下 (p.79) has a "complete the sentence" exercise:

虽然这是两棵不同的植物,...。(到底)
Although these are two different plants, ...

Basically, the task is to complete the sentence using 到底 in a natural way. (My attempt was a disaster, so there's probably no point in repeating it here; it'll distract more than help.)

Surprisingly, my teacher also seemed to struggle answering this question in a natural way. The problem is that the sentence talks about plants, and 到底 is used for emphasis. We thought that only botanists might be passionate enough about plants to use 到底.

Question: Using 到底, how could we naturally complete the sentence 虽然这是两棵不同的植物,...?

I still have no idea.

  • I suppose I should ask: 我们到底怎么自然地完成这句话? – Becky 李蓓 Dec 26 '19 at 2:17
  • 虽然这是两棵不同的植物,但是长得一模一样,这到底是怎么一回事 – fefe Dec 26 '19 at 2:23
  • I encourage you to turn examples into answers (: – Becky 李蓓 Dec 26 '19 at 2:25
  • I really don't know how to expand it into an answer ... – fefe Dec 26 '19 at 2:29
  • Interesting. Three people gave three usages of 到底.hhhh – Toosky Hierot Dec 26 '19 at 11:52
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Try:

虽然这是两棵不同的植物,但我们到底应该怎样来区分呢?// Though these are two different plants, how on earth should we distinguish them?

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When you start the first part of a sentence with a 虽然 (although), the second part would always start with a "but" (但/卻)

虽然这是两棵不同的植物,但[到底]也都是兰科植物。

Although these are two different plants, they are both in the same orchid family [after all].

(两者都会患只有兰科植物会患的病)

(Both would suffer from disease that only infect orchid plants)

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虽然这是两棵不同的植物,但是我看不出到底有什么不同。= ...I can't see how on earth they are different.

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