What's Up With Gei?

Published on February 24, 2020
Last updated on May 14, 2020
Categories: chinese, linguistics and zh

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Besides its verbal use, 给, with the reading gei3, is also (roughly speaking) "near-obligatory case marker for indirect object". But 给 has at least one other use, as the example 把什么东西给烧了 demonstrates. The function of 给 here seems similar to the usage of 弄 and 搞 with complements like 对 and 好, e.g. 弄好/搞好 "improve; put right".

I think there may be other nuances related to animate nouns, too so what's up? I'll keep an eye out. (While translating "Iron Bull and Sick Duck", I found some examples of this phenomenon to copy into here.)

2020-05-14: Aha! The AllSet Chinese Grammar wiki contends that this is a passive construction. It all makes sense now. (Be warned that AllSet occasionally offers quite poor English translations, like these.)

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