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Using "dui" with verbs

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When using 对 (duì) as a preposition, it is used to indicate "to" or "towards" an object or target. As with all prepositions, some care should be taken when using this particle, as usage of 对 doesn't always totally "make sense" or correspond to English at all.

Basic Usage

Structure

Subj. + 对 + Person + Verb

Note that you shouldn't be plugging in just any old verb here.

Examples

  • 宝宝 笑 了 。Bǎobao duì xiào le.The baby smiled at me.
  • 小狗 在 叫 。Xiǎogǒu zài duì jiào.The dog is barking at you.
  • 你 不 应该 这样 父母 说话 。Nǐ bù yīnggāi zhèyang duì fùmǔ shuōhuà.You shouldn't talk to your parents this way.
  • 他 总是 老师 撒谎 。Tā zǒngshì duì lǎoshī sāhuǎng.He always lies to his teachers.
  • 不要 孩子 发脾气 。Bùyào duì háizi fā píqi.Don't lose your temper at the child.

Colloquial Saying

In English we say "To someone or for someone." In Chinese, the pattern is:

Structure

对 + Party + 来说 ,⋯⋯

The predicate part of the pattern can be a verb or an adjective.

Note that subject can be also placed before 对.

Examples

  • 学好 中文 外国人 来说 不 容易 。Xuéhǎo Zhōngwén duì wàiguórén lái shuō bù róngyì.It is not easy to learn Chinese well for foreigners.
  • 孩子 来说 ,这个 问题 太 复杂 了 。Duì háizi lái shuō, zhège wèntí tài fùzá le.This question is too complicated for kids.
  • 来说 ,家庭 重要 还是 工作 重要 ?Duìlái shuō, jiātíng zhòngyào háishì gōngzuò zhòngyào?Is family or work more important to you?

Special Usage

Certain verbs, specially psychological verbs, are often used with 对, which means 对 is needed if you want to add an Obj in the structure, such as 对...感兴趣 ("to be interested in..."). In this case, 对 means "in, on, about," etc. The short list below will give a few more verbs used with 对. Check it out!

  • 对⋯⋯感兴趣 (gǎn xìngqù) to feel interested in
  • 对⋯⋯负责 (fùzé) to be responsible for
  • 对⋯⋯满意 (mǎnyì) to feel satisfied about
  • 对⋯⋯好奇 (hàoqí) to feel curious about
  • 对⋯⋯失望 (shīwàng) to feel disappointed about

Some examples:

  • 我 儿子 学 外语 很 感 兴趣Wǒ érzi duì xué wàiyǔ hěn gǎn xìngqù.My son is very interested in learning foreign language.
  • 你 应该 自己 的 工作 负责Nǐ yīnggāi duì zìjǐ de gōngzuò fùzé .You should be responsible for your job.
  • 老板 你 不 太 满意Lǎobǎn duì nǐ bù tài mǎnyì.The boss has not been very satisfied with you.
  • 观众 比赛 结果 非常 失望Guānzhòng duì bǐsài jiéguǒ fēicháng shīwàng.Everyone is very disappointed with the result of the game.
  • 我 的 小 女儿 所有 动物 都 很 好奇Wǒ de xiǎo nǚ'ér duì suǒyǒu dòngwù dōu hěn hàoqí.My younger daughter is curious about all the animals.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books