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Chinese Grammar: For with 给

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), (gěi) is your word! 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

One of the first meanings of in Chinese is ‘to give’’.


Subject++noun (target)­+ object


I’m giving this to you (this is for you).

Give me a kiss.

Give him a pair of chopsticks

妻子 一块 手表
My wife gave me a watch.

For, to with

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”, ...

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). then takes on the meaning of “to, for”, “for the benefit of” and is used as a preposition.


Subject + + Target + Verb + Object


老板 打电话
I gave my boss a call.

Please ask him to return my call.

妈妈 裙子
Mom bought me a dress. (Mom bought a dress for me)

今晚 做饭 !
I’m cooking for you tonight.

He sent me a text message.

Here a , there a , everywhere a

Lastly, 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 on its own. Certain set verbs also require the use of . Exceptionally, is then placed directly after the verb.


Subject + Verb + + Recipient + Object

Here are some common compounds:


I’m gifting this to you.

I’m lending you this book.

Please return it to me.

Please pass me the English book (Please pass the English book to me)

In the beginning, it’s best to consider these compounds with as exceptions and to remember as the verb “to give” and as the preposition “to; for”. As you run into sentences with compounds that contain , you’ll grow gradually used to which verbs require a after and which ones don’t.

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