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  5. "他们都不是美国人。"


Translation:None of them are American.

November 17, 2017



In formal English, the subject 'none' takes a singular verb since it is a contraction of 'not one'. So it is more correct to say 'None of them is American'.


"They all are not American" should be a correct response too.


I feel like, when referring to a group of people the "all" is implied.

To me at least, "They are not American" is the same is "They all are not American."


While it may be implied in English, 都 is much less flexible in Chinese grammar.


"They all are not..." doesn't appear anywhere in the Corpus of Contemporary American English. "None of them are" appears nearly 300 times. Clearly this isn't dispositive on usage, but it could help explain why the option isn't there. Perhaps the most obvious source of evidence for the usage of a structure in contemporary language (the British National Corpus is simply much, much smaller) sure doesn't make it seem used.


I think it is very useful to have the more direct translation even if it doesn't result in perfect English grammar. The point is to learn perfect Chinese grammar. I find it helps me learn the way the grammar works to know that, for example, "where are you from?" (In English) cones out as "You are what country person".


I agree that it is a good idea to translate the Chinese this way to help you. However, it would be strange if 'You are what country person.' was the correct answer.


"Perfect Chinese Grammar" - I laughed. Not at you, but at the thought of perfect Chinese grammar. After living here, I've succumbed to the fact that the language is willy-nilly and changes from person to person or region to region.


That's a really good point, actually.


I totally agree with you, because this sentence is not a direct translation, has the sense of an interpretation


"None of them are" appears nearly 300 times.

And as I expected, "None of them is" appears less than one hundred times.

It may be formally/grammatically congruent but I think using the singular is far less idiomatic.


dude do you really speak that 6 languages fluently ? those languages with a level 25 mark ?


I wrote that, too.



"They are all not American" is the same as "every single one of them are not american"

"They all are not American" implies that some of them might be American. As in, "the group as a whole is not comprised of American individuals."


Yes, I wonder about this. I wrote They all are not American as I thought that would be the meaning of the Chinese: Of the group some are Americans, but not all of them, and it was marked correct, but Duo also suggested to translate with "none" of them are Americans as an alterative. To me these translations give very different meanings. I have no former knowledge of Chinese, so I need to be assured about the real meaning of the Chinese. What is the meaning of the Chinese? Can somebody in the forum help?


他们都不 + [verb] in Chinese means 0 member of the group does [verb].

都 before 不 makes 不's negation apply to every member of the group.

他们不都 + [verb] in Chinese means at least 1 member of the group doesn't [verb].

不 before 都 negates the statement, 他们都 + [verb].

Note that it's possible 他们都不 + [verb] and 他们不都 + [verb] are both true at the same time.


Kuei-Ti... your posts... have you considered publishing them somewhere.. like a blog? hella insightful, I was just wondering about this very thing!



To Tsen107548, it sounds like a good idea. I should do that when my job is more stable.



There's a shade of etymological fallacy in this argument. I don't think anyone would contest that "none" can be used for uncountable nouns ("none of the dirt," "none of the water"). Obviously if etymology determined everything, then that would be impossible.

When it comes to more recent linguistic history, according to Google NGrams, "none of them are" had a strong lead over "none of them is" from 1700 (earlier than which there is mostly noise) to about 1920, at which point the later took the lead, but now they're roughly tied again.


Regardless, that doesn't warrant "none is" to be marked wrong.


It depends if none is for a countable group of items or an indefinite amount of something. "None of them" is for a countable group, kind of like the many vs. much. http://grammarist.com/spelling/none-are-or-none-is/

"None is" could be right for something else. "None of the water is drinkable. None of the apple pie is gone. So, you didn't eat?" Even "None of the rice is cooked yet."

"None of the people are here yet."


I wonder why this has still not been corrected. The correct English is still being marked as incorrect. I've reported it but I see that it has been mentioned a few times. Shouldn't take so long to correct an error like this.


Sure, it doesn't take too long to fix any specific issue, but no specific issue has any clear priority over any other specific issue, of which there are thousands if not tens or hundreds of thousands. That's why things take a while.


This guy knows his English.


At least "none of them is American" should not be marked as incorrect


Also it is correct to say "Neither of them (if there are only two) is American"


Neither has to refer to two, not fewer, not more.


I was relieved when that got marked correct lol


Although I got this right, through the limited choice of the given alternatives, I agree that it should be "none..is". I didn't report it as it could be confusing to the non-English speaker, and so many people now say"none.. are... "


Either is correct, check links higher up.


Thanks for your post. I was going to write that.


I noticed this as well, but the app allows "none of them ARE"


If 都 can mean all or both, does this mean that 都不 can mean none or neither? (I ask because I was marked wrong for saying "neither.")


"Neither" is fine. This is beta. Probably just haven't input all possible correct answers yet.


I used "both" and apparently that's also incorrect.


Apparently you can say "they are both not american" but you cannot say "they are not both american" because the latter allows that one of them might be.


I did: They are all, not American.

Thought the phrasing was wrong though :p


I was told that the correct answer is actually "they are both not Americans," when I had only put "they are both not American." I'm not sure if only "american" is right, but "americans" sounds incorrect to me.


American is perfectly correct as well and should be accepted


To use 'neither' you have to have used first in the sentence 'either' so if you are going to use it only once you have to say either.


No, there is no such requirement.

"Neither of them is American" is perfectly grammatical and natural.


It has more to do with using “not” which would be excluded with “neither” since it is already built into the word.


Neither = not + either


The translation here says "none of them are American". On the page, it gave the translation as "they are all not American". These mean two different things. How would you differentiate between these two sentences in Mandarin?

I thought the answer might be "they are not all American" and it was counted as wrong. Could someone give some explanations so I can grasp the differences? Thank you!


I consider, given the usual order of quantifiers, "none of them are American" and "they are all not American" as logically equivalent. However "they are not all American" would mean that some of them might be American but that there is at least one non-American among them.


"they are not all American" would be more like 他们不是都是美国人, with the implication that some of them are American, but not all of them. I confess, I don't see the difference between "none of them are American" and "they are all not American", because to me both mean that no one in the group is American at all.


The placement of 'not' and 'all' is part of the confusion I think, 'they are not all american' implies that SOME are not american, where as 'they are all not american' implies that NONE of them are american. I think part of what I have been experiences in translating sentences is word order - I thought only in Chinese, but now I see I am having the same problem in English. To make it more clear - I would say in English 'Not all of them are American' for the some...and 'None of them are American' for other.


I had the exact sam e confusion here...thanks for asking.


I asked my Chinese advisor about this and she said this sentence translates strictly as "they are all not". If you wanted to say "they are not all" then you would use a sentence form like "some of them are". So you would use "some" instead of using "not all".


I think we should clarify the difference between 不都 (not all) and 都不 (none).

他们不都是美国人。 Not all of them are American. (Some are, some aren't)

他们都不是美国人。 None of them are American/ They are not American. (Not a single one)


Can someone please CONFIRM that this is the way to differentiate the two ?


Agreeing with Michael430965. Please, can someone with knowledge confirm ainatp92 clear suggestion?


Chinese's 都 and English's "all" work slightly different. ainatp92's explanation for 不都 is partially true.

他们都不 + [verb] in Chinese means 0 member of the group does [verb].

都 before 不 makes 不's negation apply to every member of the group.

他们不都 + [verb] in Chinese means at least 1 member of the group doesn't [verb].

不 before 都 negates the statement, 他们都 + [verb].

Note that it's possible 他们都不 + [verb] and 他们不都 + [verb] are both true at the same time.


It didn't like that I said "neither of them is American," saying the correct answer is "neither of them are Americans." My answer was proper grammatical U.S. English, as "neither" is a singular collective noun.


Agreed. Report it.


The translation should be: ‘Neither of them is American’. ‘Is’ must agree with ‘neither’ because ‘neither’ is singular.


They accept ....

->They all are not American.


No, it does not accept this. At least not when i tried.


It was ok for me before but it has changed. And now "all of them are not americans", accepted.


None of them is American. Accepted.


They all are not American. Accepted 21/03/2019


"neither of them are American" should be allowed because neither indicates that "neither person is" so plural shouldn't be necessary


I first said "They are not American" and was told "They are not all Americans" was correct. The second time I said "They are not all Americans" and it told me "They are not both Americans" was right.


Apparent technical glitches like this can't be resolved by course contributors. They're for the programmers: https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/204728264-How-do-I-report-a-bug-


The placement of all or both right before "Americans" is wrong, but you didn't use either of those words at all and so you were also wrong. This must be reported.


First time it said, " They are not all Americans." was the correct answer when I had a typo saying "They are not all American." So, this time around, I did "They are not all Americans." and It shows incorrect. Am I missing something? Something small maybe that I may have possibly overlooked?


Someone probably reported that "all" should be before "not", otherwise the meaning is changed to mean "not all" when actually the Chinese means "They are all not American(s)." with or without the 's' should be correct. The actual meaning is best translated to "None of them are American." and you could use "Americans" too.


"They are all not american people" marked as incorrect... Come on, that's like the most literal translation you can do.


Capitalize "American" and report it next time, but it is unnatural in English and would best be translated as "None of them are American."


Good point actually!


Just FYI Duo doesn't seem to care about capitalisation when deciding if an answer is right or not, so "american" would still be accepted if the rest of the answer was correct.


That is not always true.


weird, it marked me wrong for saying "American" instead of "Americans" but when I came to the discussion the official translation is actually "American"


What was the rest of your sentence? The particular combination of words that you put may not be in the data bank. Also, your error can be before the word that is marked incorrect.


None of them IS an American


Not necessarily, “One of them is an American.” would have to be singular. “None of them” means that you checked them all and they are all not American. It can be used as plural. http://grammarist.com/spelling/none-are-or-none-is/


Not going to go into a battle of the websites. You use it as a plural in your sentence and I will use it as a singular in that sentence. I would think it is trending towards your way of thinking, but I am old and neither think it is right or that it sounds right.


"Neither of them ARE American" is poor English. "Neither of them is American" is correct English, but rejected by The Bird. Neither is a singular word, not a plural word, in English.


Sorry, I neglected to do that in my haste to complain. Will do so next time it comes up.


This should not be an acceptable answer: "They are all not Americans". It was the 'correct' answer I was given when I put "They are not all Americans."


“They are not all americans” means some of them might be, but here the point is that none of them are.


They are not all Americans was my answer. I was marked incorrect. I don't get why.


"They are not all Americans" is the negation of "they are all Americans" - it means that at least one of them isn't American.

"They are all not Americans" is stronger - it means that none of them are Americans.

The Chinese here means the latter.


I'm an native english speaker, and I would probably say, "Neither of them are American.", but, none makes it seem like there are more than just 2 of them.


It is my understanding from the notes that the Chinese can mean either of these. It can mean: Neither of them is American (if there are only 2); or it can mean: None of them are American (if there are more than 2).


The talker talks too fast


They've added the 'turtle' / slow speech option in some places. It is getting better :)


That is available only for the Listen to Chinese and write it down in Chinese, because you do not have the advantage of seeing the words. You can sometimes click on the words to hear each word spoken on the exercise page. Here on the discussion clicking on each word may access a page with more information on the word, but yes you can still listen to the word there.


It wont let me say American in singular... only Americans! This is so wrong.


I knew that my answer wouldn't be correct, but I wanted to try it anyway. In my hometown, we say "them guys" instead of "them" sometimes (when referring to a group whose constituents are known). I might say "I went to the movies with Ben and them guys" (the listener would be aware of who "them guys" are) and so in the same way, I might say "None of them guys are Canadian"


It said the correct response is "They are both not American" but there's no need for "both" in this sentence


Yes, 都 means "both" or "all" and it is an emphasis that must be added into the English sentence. It is just uncommon for us to phrase it that way. We would rather say "Both of them are not American." or "All of them are not American." or even better "None of them are American." or "Neither of them is American." and "Americans" should also be allowed for all but the last sentence, as well.


I said "they all aren't American" and it was incorrect


I am not surprised. My impression when I hear that is that "all" applies to the negative, which would mean "not all". It would be best to say "All of them aren't American." or even better "None of them are American." We want to make sure that people understand that the Chinese is actually a translation of this last sentence. Then, you still may need to report the contraction as being correct, but the rest of the sentence must be accurate first.


"They are not all Americans" why is this not correct? If anyone could tell me....


Your version means "not all" which then means "some of them", rather than "All of them are not", so that is far from the intended meaning of "None of them are"


Both not or not both - why is one not considered correct word order in English


In English the word order can change the meaning. "not American" negates the word "American." "Both of them are not American." is preferable, but I am not sure if it has been added.

If the "not" comes before "both" or "all" that negates that specific word, when they are trying to negate "American". "not both" means that one or the other is American, but in actual fact this sentence means that "Neither is American." or neither one nor the other is American.

"All of them are not American." would also be better as "None of them are American." This is the direct translation into Chinese of this last sentence. We say "none of them are" while they say "All of them are not" only literally it is "They all are not" which cannot be directly back translated.


None means 'not one', and 'one' demands the singular verb 'is'.


There's more to verb agreement than etymology :)

Both "none is" and "none are" have a robust history of use going back over 400 years: http://bit.ly/2Ka500H


None can also mean "not any". When none refers to a countable noun, then "are" is not only possible, but the better word to use.


None means 'not one'. 'One is singular and demands the singular verb, "is".


Although that is how the word was invented, it is no longer the only definition. It also means "not any".

Repeating your claim does not always make it true. Pay attention to whether "none" refers to an uncountable quantity that would use "much" somewhere else and then would use "is" or if it refers to a countable quantity that would use "many" somewhere else, such as people which is when "are" is used.


How would you say then: "They aren't all American?"



That would mean that they have more than one nationality, American and more.


Aren't they all American?



I totally agree with Elef811331. It is very weird for me to write "None of them are...." I am like going against my programming


What is your native language? How would you indicate "None of them are..." ?


None of them is...


I thought so too


None is short for not one and therefore american should be singular


"They arent all american" is not true ?


Word order is important in English, putting “all” in front of “American” (which is always capitalized in English) modifies American instead of “they” (which is capitalized at the beginning of the sentence). So, this means that they are partly American and partly another nationality or nationalities, since they are NOT completely American. Our best way to specify that “all” refers to “they” is to say “All of them are not American.” , but apparently the Chinese is actually a translation of “None of them are American.”


Not necessarily. "They are not all American" could also mean "Not all of them are American".

As a separate question, I'd like to know how to express that in Chinese...


please correct this error which has been made known to you


"None of them are X" feels weird. While it might not be wrong, I would still be more comfortable using is in this context, but it is not accepted by this excersize.


I wrote, "Neither of them is American," and it should be accepted.


"None" takes "is".


It can take either “is” or “are”. If you put “is” and if it was marked as incorrect, then you should report it. Include the link that I posted a couple of times already above.


None of them is American. Similarly, not one of them is American.


"They are both not American" is not totally correct. "None of them are American" or "Neither of them are American" are both correct.


But in English we would just say "they aren't American" so why is this not allowed?


There is a word that you are ignoring. Either “both...not”, “all...not”, “neither of them” or “none of them” should be included when translating this sentence. Otherwise, you are translating a different sentence


I said none of those guys are American. Wouldn't that be correct because the sentence used 他们 for the they part of the sentence


“None of them are American” would be correct. Where did you get “those guys” from? “None of them are American people.” could be another possibility.


"Neither" is a singular pronoun; "of them"is a prepositional phrase, not influencing the number of the verb.


'They are not Americans" I believe is also an acceptable answer and it's marked incorrect.


For me this translation looks correct when "none" is used. HOWEVER, with "neither" I feel the correct translation would be: Neither (=neither one) of them is American.


"they are not americans." your translation is very awkward.


That is not the same sentence. The translation above is used for a different situation.


I wrote "none of them is American". It was marked correct but suggested same with 'are' in place of 'is'.


Good, now both sets of users can be correct. Either can be used, believe it or not.


Both of them can indeed be used. One of them can be used grammatically, and one of them can be used incorrectly.

"None" comes from "no one." How does "No one of them are American" sound to you?


Upon further review, you are correct, sir. 对不起. In the future, I promise to do my research PRIOR TO shooting my mouth off.


I put, "They are not Americans."


None is a contraction of 'not one' (hence its taking a singular verb) so 'None of the water' makes no sense to me as an English (in England) speaker.


Then you should check the Oxford dictionary, because “none” also means “not any” and it can be used with a singular or plural verb. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/none


None is is correct English usage so should be accepted.


None of them is*


Would it be incorrect to say "neither of them is American"?


I do not see why one could not write: "They are not American"? I would have also answered "None of them IS American". I do not think it instinctive to write "None of them are American"... it's just poor English.


So just for clarification, I would have taken this to mean "Not all of them are American." Which would mean some could be, just not all of them. Is this truly meaning that none of them are American?


the 《都》 emphasizes that none of them are American. Without the 《都》, the sentence could imply some ambiguity.


In Chinese, how would you distinguish between (1) Both of them are not American v.s. (2) Not both of them are Americans.


Could this also be read as "Not all of them are American?" Which could mean some are? Or is is a definite "none" because at least in English this phrase would mean "not all"


I would have said, "none of them is..." Like "not one of them."


Is this "none of them" or "not all of them"? Both seem to be accepted but are completely different meanings...


I personally think that "They are all non-American" should be correct.


None of them is American. The English translation is wrong. The pronoun "none" is singular and therefore takes the singular form of the verb to be, "is," rather than "are" which is for the plural.


Literally translation: They all not are american. Ta1 men1 dou1 bu shi4 mei3 guo2 ren2


How do I say, "not all of them are American?"


I put "They are not all American" and it was marked correct... but seeing what the correct answer is makes me feels like my answer maybe shouldn't be correct? It's not conveying the meaning.

"They are not all American" implies that some of them might be. "None of them are American" is unambiguous. What is the best way to translate 都不?


都 means the statement applies to all of the subjects, so 都不 would be for "neither."


well sometimes the words you put mean the same thing


I feel like there should be names because there is no picture to identify who they are talking about


I'from Chile in latin America, America is a continent, not a country, United States of America is not the whole America


"Neither of them is..." is more formal (see https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/neither_1?q=neither ). Why isn't it accepted?


Yet, neither involves two, but there could be more than two, so none of them includes two and more.


Without the context, we don't know whether 他们 here includes 2 or more people, so "neither" shouldn't be incorrect. Anyway, my main complaint is about "is" marked as incorrect. Whether "neither" or "none" is used, "is" is marked as incorrect, even though it's more formal than "are" in this case according to the Oxford Learner's Dictionaries.

For "none of": https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/none_1#none_idmg_3


so what's the translation for: Not all of them are American... (implying that some are).

The translation here is more certain.


You can say 他们不全是美国人 (全 means "all, entire") or 他们不都是美国人. I think the former is more common.


I assumed this sentence would mean: "Not all of them are Americans." As if some of them could be but not all of them together are. How could we say that in Chinese?


Your assumption is, unfortunately, wrong. Please see my post regarding the usage of 都 and 不: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/25229099?comment_id=38219451

In Chinese, to specify that some of them are but some of them aren't, you have to state both explicitly because neither 都不 nor 不都 can express that.

  • 有: have, exist

  • 些: a few, a little

  • 有些: have a few/little/part (of); a few/little/part (of something) exist(s)

  • 他们有些是,有些不是。 Some of them are. Some aren't.

  • 他们有些是,有些不。 Some of them are. Some [are] not.

  • 他们有些不是,有些是。 Some of them aren't. Some are.

  • 他们有些不,有些是。 Some of them [are] not. Some are.

  • 他们有些是美国人,有些不是。 Some of them are Americans. Some aren't.

  • 他们有些是美国人,有些是中国人。 Some of them are Americans. Some are Chinese.

  • 他们有些是美国人,有些是中国人,有些是英国人。 Some of them are Americans. Some are Chinese. Some are British.

  • 他们有些吃鱼,有些不吃。 Some of them eat fish. Some don't eat [fish].

  • 他们有些吃鱼,有些不。 Some of them eat fish. Some don't.


"they are not american" flows better and conveys the same meaning


No, it does not. It is not a correct translation of the Chinese sentence. This is not an "all" that was added to the English to convey that "you" is plural as you have seen in the past. 都 means "both" or "all", so that must be conveyed or you have changed the emphasis and yes the meaning of the sentence. If you do not like "They are all not American.", which is the literal but unnatural translation, you could put "All of them are not American.", but even better would be for us to use "None of them are American." This is the way that this last sentence is translated to Chinese. You should also be allowed to use "both are not" or "neither is", but I am not sure if all the answers have been added to the data base.




Для русских: почему не правильно, так как во множественном числе women / tamen и т д пишется dou чтобы указать, что именно они не американцы, а не все не американцы. Почитайте в интернете про это.)


--goes to learn a new language...


Technically, we are currently reading the internet about this. The questions here have nothing to do with Russian or even French, where one need specify some/part in order to clarify that it is not ALL in existence. This is for clarification of 都不是。In CHINESE, does it mean "none of all in existence" or does it mean "none of those to whom the speaker is referring". I put "Neither" and it was considered correct. So, I'm leaning towards the latter.


Не понятно, че хотел сказать.


"Not all" = "some" or one, but not all in English, which is NOT what this Chinese sentence means.

Apparently the sentence means: “None of them are” and “All of them are not” is another possiblity.

The chinese word for "all" can also mean "both".

“Both of them are not” Or “Neither of them are”

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