Verbs preceded by "gei"

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The word 给 (gěi) literally means "to give," but is frequently used in Chinese to indicate the target of a verb. The target is who or what the verb is aimed or directed at.


Subj. + 给 + Target + Verb + Obj.


  • 他 打 电话 了。Literally, "I give him hit phone."gěi tā dǎ diànhuà le.I gave him a phone call.
  • 我 回 电话。Qǐng gěi wǒ huí diànhuà.Please return my phone call.
  • 你 发 了 一 封 邮件。gěi nǐ fā le yī fēng yóujiàn.I sent you a letter.
  • 但是 你 没有 我 回 邮件。Dànshì nǐ méiyǒu gěi wǒ huí yóujiàn.But you didn't reply to my letter.
  • 我 要 你 看 我们 的 新 产品。Wǒ yào gěi nǐ kàn wǒmen de xīn chǎnpǐn.I want you to take a look at our new product.
  • 女朋友 送 什么 礼物 呢?Gěi nǚpéngyou sòng shénme lǐwù ne?What gift should I give to my girlfriend?
  • 我 说 说 这 件 事情。Gěi wǒ shuō shuō zhè jiàn shìqing.Talk about this matter with me.
  • 小 时候,妈妈 每天 都 我 讲 故事。Xiǎo shíhou, māma měitiān dōu gěi wǒ jiǎng gùshi.When I was young, every day my mother would tell me stories.
  • 你 应该 他 道歉。Nǐ yīnggāi gěi tā dàoqiàn.You should apologize to him.

Chinese speakers use 给 (gěi) in some interesting ways, similar to how English speakers use "to give," as in "to give someone a phone call" or "to give someone a reply."

Alternative Structure

Although the structure above is the best one to learn first, some verbs frequently use 给, but have the 给 coming after the verb, rather than before. It's best to think of these as exceptions to the rule above, and you can learn more about these exceptions by reading about "gei" following verbs.

See also

Sources and Further Reading