Verbs followed by "gei"

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Although it's standard practice to put a word or phrase that modifies a verb before the verb, there are, of course, exceptions. (gěi) is one of those exceptions; it sometimes comes before the verb and sometimes after. This article is about when it comes after.

Basic Pattern


Note that the verbs that fit into this pattern are normally single-syllable verbs.

Subj. + Verb + 给 + Recipient + Obj.


Obj. + Subj. + Verb + 给 + Recipient


  • 昨天 有 人 送 给 我 一 束 花 。Zuótiān yǒu rén sòng gěi wǒ yī shù huā.Yesterday someone gave me a bouquet of flowers.
  • 递 给 我 一 盒 纸巾 。Qǐng dì gěi wǒ yī hé zhǐjīn.Please pass me a box of tissues.
  • 这是 我们 送 给 你的 生日 礼物 。Zhè shì wǒmen sòng gěi nǐ de shēngrì lǐwù.This is your birthday present from us.
  • 这 本 书 是 谁 借 给 你 的 ?Zhè běn shū shì shéi jiè gěi nǐ de?Who lent you this book?
  • 邮件 我 已经 发 给 你 了 。Yóujiàn wǒ yǐjīng fā gěi nǐ le.I sent you that email already.

Advanced Pattern


Additionally, you can add 把 into this structure. This does not change the meaning of the sentence and when used in context can even add emphasis to what's being done and given.

Subj. + 把 + Obj. + Verb + 给 + Recipient


  • 你 想 这个 礼物 送 给 谁 ?Nǐ xiǎng zhège lǐwù sòng gěi shéi?Who are you going to give this present to?
  • 那些 照片 都 发 给 我 。Qǐng nàxiē zhàopiàn dōu fā gěi wǒ.Please send all of those pictures to me.
  • 我 已经 卖 给 了 一 个 朋友 。Wǒ yǐjīng chē mài gěi le yī gè péngyou.I've already sold my car to a friend of mine.
  • 递 给 我 ,谢谢 。Qǐng yán dì gěi wǒ, xièxie.Please pass me the salt. Thanks.
  • 可以 这 本 书 借 给 我 吗 ?Kěyǐ zhè běn shū jiè gěi wǒ ma?Could you please lend me this book?

Note that the verb 嫁 (jià) cannot fit into the 把 pattern above; it's an exception.

  • 嫁 给 了 一 个 有钱 的 老头 。jià gěi le yī gè yǒuqián de lǎotóu. She married a rich old man.

If you really want to make a 把 sentence, though, you can do it in this sexist way:

  • 她 爸爸 嫁 给 了 一 个 有钱 的 老头 。Tā bàba jià gěi le yī gè yǒuqián de lǎotóu. Her father married her off to a rich old man.

Academic Debate

Although 给 phrases should normally precede a verb like any other prepositional phrase, they sometimes come after. Why have it both ways? There is some academic debate over whether this 给 is actually a preposition, a type of verb (often called a "co-verb"), or even a type of complement. This type of discussion is outside the scope of this article, however.

See also

Sources and further reading