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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

Structure

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

Subj. + Verb + 给 + Recipient + Obj.

or

Obj. + Subj. + Verb + 给 + Recipient

Examples

  • 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

Structure

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

Examples

  • 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

Books

Dictionaries