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Chinese Grammar: Lesson: 对、对于和关于

Regarding studying Chinese, what is the best way to learn it? If you want to ask someone for their opinion, a term you need to learn in Mandarin Chinese is “in regards to/ with”. In Chinese, there are three words you can use to say that: / 对于/ 关于. May you have come across them before? All three have similar meanings of “concerning, regarding, as for”. As you can imagine, each word has its own context in which you can use it; let’s see which you can use when!

& 对于

In order to make it clear, we divided / 对于 / 关于 into 2 pairs to compare their usages. First, let’s look into vs. 对于; then we’ll compare 对于 vs. 关于

Where & 对于 are the same

As prepositions, & 对于 both have the same meaning of “regarding (something) and “as far as” and emphasize the Object they are pointing to. The two words are interchangeable: in fact , in this case, is the shortened version of 对于 so you can usually substitute for 对于 in any given situation where their function is a preposition.

Structure

/对于 + Action object

Examples

/对于 来说 一样
As far as I'm concerned, it's all the same.

/对于 怎么
Regarding this matter what’s your opinion?

Where and 对于 differ

  1. First, it’s good to note that is little more oral than 对于 and is more common in spoken Chinese. 对于 is more used in writing.

  2. There are certain situations in which only can be used, and 对于 cannot be. It is therefore important to keep in mind that: Where you can use 对于, you can use ; but you can’t always use 对于 where you use .

That’s because, aside from meaning “regarding”, has several other meanings.

+ a verb can express direction: face; towards someone.

说话
She’s talking towards me.

镜子
He cried in front of the mirror.

When expressing “to treat” with as a verb:


He treats me well.

认真
He treated this matter seriously.

  1. Another difference between / 对于 is where you can put the words in a sentence.

is the most flexible: it can be placed before the subject, after the subject or after the adverb. In contrast, 对于 cannot be used everywhere like so. In fact, if in the middle of a sentence, 对于 must be placed after an adverb.

We know now that and 对于 are, for the most case, interchangeable, except when they are not. Now, let’s see what 对于 and 关于 are all about.

对于 & 关于

对于 & 关于 , if they both mean “concerning”, “regarding”, place emphasis on two different aspects in the sentence.

对于 emphasizes objects

对于 emphasizes the object referred to. To place emphasis on a person or a thing that has a particular situation or a certain attitude, you’ll want to use 对于, for instance.

Structure

对于 + thing/person

Examples

对于这个 问题 不是 了解
I didn't really understand this question.

对于 来说 没问题
It’s okay for him.

关于 emphasizes the range

On the other hand, when, in relation to an object, you’re looking to emphasize a range, use 关于. It points to a range or scope of things or people, in relation with the object 关于 is referring to.

Structure

_关于 + related thing/involved object, Subject + sentence

Examples

关于 没什么 看法
I don't have an opinion concerning this matter.

调查 报告 关于空气污染
This report is about air pollution.

In the beginning of a sentence, 关于 must always be placed before the subject.

关于中草药 知道 is incorrect.
关于中草药 知道 is ok.
I don’t know much about Chinese herbal medicine

关于 can be used to modify a noun

You can also use to modify a noun. Simply place 关于 after the verb, add the object you’re referring to in relation with the noun, and tack a after it, like so:

Structure

V + 关于 + Object + + noun

关于 会议 报告
Do you have the report concerning this meeting? (do you have this meeting’s report?)

关于 can be used as a title.

Among 对于 关于, 关于 is the only one you can use on its own in a title or an article: it would then be translated as “ on” or “about”.

Example

关于暑假 通知
A notification about summer vacation

Note: 对于 can also be used in a title, but not on its own. As you saw, 对于 must always be followed by a noun or a noun-phrase.

When 关于 对于 are interchangeable

In some instances, 关于and 对于 are interchangeable: this can only happen when you are referring to a precise thing or person. Both 对于 & 关于 can indifferently be used when the target being emphasized is clear and clearly defined.

You’ll often find both can be used in sentences that start with “regarding this question” or “regarding this topic”. The target is clear, so in those instances, you have the option of using either 对于 or 关于.

Examples

关于/对于** 没什么 看法
I don't have an opinion concerning this matter.

关于/对于** 事情 清楚
I was pretty clear about her issues.

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