Chinese Grammar: Regarding this matter with 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 / 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!
As prepositions, 对 & 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 对, in this case, is the shortened version of 对于 so you can usually substitute 对 for 对于 in any given situation where their function is a preposition.
There are certain situations in which only 对 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 对; but you can’t always use 对于 where you use 对.
That’s because, aside from meaning “regarding”, 对 has several other meanings.
对 ＋ a verb can express direction: face; towards someone.
When expressing “to treat” with 对 as a verb:
对 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.
对于 emphasizes objects
对于 + thing/person
关于 emphasizes the range
_关于 + related thing/involved object, Subject + sentence
In the beginning of a sentence, 关于 must always be placed before the subject.
关于 can be used to modify a noun
关于 can be used as a title.
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.
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