City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Aug 12, 2020 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Mickey (7,360 points) | 552 views

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The two verbs (替) and dài (代) both mean to replace someone in doing something so that the person doesn’t have to it himself. The slight difference is that dài (代) tends to convey the meaning of doing something on behalf of somebody, while the use of(替) inclines to mean to substitute somebody in doing something. They generally take personal pronouns or nouns representing people as the object.


He substituted the injured player in the second half.

tā tì nà gè shòu shāng le de qiú yuán dǎ wán le xià bàn chǎng de bǐ sài.


qǐng dài wǒ xiàng nǐ de jiā rén wèn hǎo.

Please give my regards to your family.

(替) is more likely to be used in colloquial expression, while dài (代) is often used in more formal and generalized occasions and could form a few fixed expressions which cannot be replaced by tì (替), for example:

dài gòu (代购)    to buy on somebody’s behalf / the purchasing agent

dài kè (代课)     to take over a class for an absent teacher

dài bàn (代办)    to act on somebody’s behalf

(替) also has its exclusive fixed expression like tì shēn替身(stand-in).

() could function as a preposition which conveys the meaning of “for” in “ do something for somebody”, but dài () can’t.


wǒ zhēn tì nǐ gǎn dào gāo xìng.

I'm so happy for you.


nǐ néng tì zhè gè nǚ hái zhào gè xiàng ma?

Can you take a picture for the girl?

answered Aug 12, 2020 by Mickey (7,360 points)

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