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I found this example:

你拿着用吧,什么时候还都可以。

Nǐ ná zheyòng ba, shénme shíhòu huán dōu kěyǐ.

You can have it as long as you want.

I am confused about the grammar structure behind 什么时候还都可以 (literally: any time you return it is ok). How is it possible 都 occurs after the verb 还 (to return)? Until now, I always saw 都 before any verb.

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    Make a pause here: (什么时候还) 都可以, just like(今天还 或者 明天还) 都可以, take the first part as one subject. – Shaw Sep 1 at 22:47
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In the sentence 什么时候还都可以

  • the subject is 什么时候还 (the topic in topic-comment theory)
  • the predicate is 都可以

可以 is 中心词 (key word or main verb), 都 is an adverb that modifies 可以.

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  • Does 都 modify 可以? I thought instead modifies the time 什么时候 to mean any time. See also Can an 'adverb' modify 'nouns/pronouns'?, even though that discussion is about English language, I think in Mandarin Chinese it has the same grammatical function. – Puco4 Sep 2 at 9:01
  • @Puco4 The adverb 都 modifies the verb 可以. E. g. 我都可以. You'd think 都 modifies 我? Your quotation is not the same as your example in my opinion. – dan Sep 2 at 10:25
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    What does it mean 我都可以? Maybe here 都 means something else and complements the verb. However, usually I have seen 都 means all. So for example 我们都可以 means we all can. And in this case, I believe 都 modifies 我们 to mean we all. Also, from C. Li, S. Thompson. Mandarin Chinese, A functional reference grammar: "都 can refer only to a preceding noun phrase, and this noun phrase is generally the topic or the subject." I believe this is the same grammar function as in English when we say almost everyone, almost is an adverb that complements everyone (from the previous link). – Puco4 Sep 2 at 10:35
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    But then, I believe 都 makes reference (and complements) another omitted noun (the possible ways), and not the verb. – Puco4 Sep 2 at 11:30
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    @Puco4 都 is an adverb and syntactically goes with the verb. How you render any sentence in English is not relevant to understanding the structure of the source language. Easy test: does 我都 work alone? No. Does 都可以 work alone? Yes. – blackgreen Sep 3 at 9:35
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Don't really like (你)还

Maybe this helps a little:

你什么时候把车还给我,都可以。我今天不需要用车。
You can return my car anytime. I don't need it today.

你随时可以把车还给我。我今天不需要用车。
You can return my car any time. I don't need it today.

你什么时候回来 (回家、回宾馆), 都可以。
You can come back (come home, come back to the hotel) anytime.

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