Chinese Grammar: Lesson: 给 (B1)
Is this for me? Oh, it’s for that guy over there. No fun.
When someone wants to give something to you (or when you want to give someone something - you can’t always be receiving), 给 (gěi) is your word! 给 is one of those little words you can see popping up a lot in Chinese, as it’s a very frequent term. It has a few different uses, which we’ll explain here.
Basic use of 给
One of the first meanings of 给 in Chinese is ‘to give’’.
Subject+给+noun (target)+ object
For, to with 给
给 signifying "to give" is used in several different ways, not unlike in English. In Chinese, just like in English, you “give someone a phone call”; you “give someone an answer”, ...
给 is also frequently used in Chinese to indicate you’re doing something to someone: it indicates the target of a verb (i.e who or what the verb is directed at). 给 then takes on the meaning of “to, for”, “for the benefit of” and is used as a preposition.
Subject + 给 + Target + Verb + Object
Lastly, 给 can be combined with other verbs to compose various compounds. These compounds can be used to specify how something is given, as they are more precise than 给 on its own. Certain set verbs also require the use of 给. Exceptionally, 给 is then placed directly after the verb．
Subject + Verb + 给 + Recipient + Object
Here are some common compounds:
Please pass me the English book (Please pass the English book to me)
In the beginning, it’s best to consider these compounds with 给 as exceptions and to remember 给 as the verb “to give” and as the preposition “to; for”. As you run into sentences with compounds that contain 给, you’ll grow gradually used to which verbs require a 给 after and which ones don’t.
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