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这个菜辣得眼泪都出来了。

I think that this sentence can be translated into 2 types sentences.

  1. This dish is spicy which makes tears coming out.(emphasizing plurality of tears)
  2. This dish is spicy so even tears are coming out.(functioning as meaning "even")

Which conception is correct in the original sentence?

ADDING

他困得眼睛都睁不开了。

I've also been confused of 都 here . As same as the 1st sentence, this sentence is also of plurality or "even".

Summing up till here, corresponding each sentence can be tagged with + plural noun + structure.

2 Answers 2

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In both of these sentences, “都” marks emphasis, not plurality. We can analyze them as

subject + adjective + 得 + noun + 都 + verb phrase

meaning

[S] is so [Adj] that even...

The function of "得" here is to indicate a degree complement.

  • 这个菜辣得眼泪都流出来了。 This dish is so spicy that even tears are coming out.
  • 他困得眼睛都睁不开了。 He's so tired that even his eyes can't stay open.

Here's another example where there's no plurality.

  • 我紧张得觉都睡不着了。I'm so nervous that I can't even sleep.

It's possible to come up with ambiguous cases, e.g.

  • 他饿得菜都吃完了。

could mean

  1. He was so hungry that he even ate the food.

or it could mean

  1. He was so hungry that he ate all the food.

In speaking, I would differentiate the two meanings using intonation. For the former, I would exaggerate the pitch when saying "菜". For the latter, I would exaggerate the pitch when saying "都". To differentiate the two in writing, I would write

  1. 他饿得连菜都吃完了。

to express the first meaning, and

  1. 他饿得菜全都吃完了。

to express the second meaning.

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  1. V + 得 + verb/degree compliment (that describes the effect of the verb and its extent.)

  2. 都 - even

  • 这个菜辣[v]得[眼泪都出来了]。- The dish is so spicy that even my tears are coming out.

  • 他困[v]得[眼睛都睁不开了]。- He is so tired/sleepy that even his eyes couldn't open.

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