City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Apr 18 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,470 points) | 32 views

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• Meaning ‘for’, indicating the action is a service or an act of kindness (为 can replace 给 in a more formal situation)

小王来了,你快去给他开门。

Xiǎo wáng lái le ,nǐ kuài qù gěi tā kāi mén 。

Xiao Wang is here. Hurry and go open the door for him.

我要去书店给我妹妹买两本书。

Wǒ yào qù shū diàn gěi wǒ mèi mèi mǎi liǎng běn shū 。

I am going to the bookshop to buy two books for my younger sister. (This can either

mean an act of service – going to the bookshop for her, or an act of kindness – buying

the books as gifts for her.)

如果你们选我当市长,我一定努力地为你们服务。

Nú guǒ nǐ men xuǎn wǒ dāng shì zhǎng ,wǒ yī dìng nǔ lì dì wéi nǐ men fú wù 。

If you elect me to be mayor, I will defi nitely serve you (work for you) diligently.

• Meaning ‘to’, indicating the person is the target or recipient of the action (为 cannot be used to replace 给.)

我常给家人发短信,但是不常给他们打电话。

Wǒ cháng gěi jiā rén fā duǎn xìn ,dàn shì bú cháng gěi tā men dǎ diàn huà 。

I often send text messages to my family, but I don’t often call them (literally, make

phones to them.).

[1] Yip, P. C., Rimmington, D., Xiaoming, Z., & Henson, R. (2009). Basic Chinese: a grammar and workbook. Taylor & Francis.
answered Apr 18 by Ariel (34,470 points)

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