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给 + target sentences

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Hi everybody!

First, I would like to note I am familiar with this page: https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Verbs_preceded_by_"gei", but still not satisfied.


I would like to propose a different way of analyzing those sentences. Take for example:


It is said that 你 is the "target" word, yet this seems to be odd and I encountered it only in Chinese (in English: I gave him a phone call - "him" is the first object of "gave").

That's why I argue that 给你 is an adverb clause, that describes the target of 打 (sure, it would be easier if 打 took another object). Actually, it does make sense: an adverbial adjunct, make it a word or a clause, comes before the modified verb.

Well, if I'm wrong (probably) and the model shown in the link is correct, it means the 打电话 becomes a noun, doesn't it?

How can a verb act as a subject/object at all?


Would appreciate responses, and once again - beginner here, so I'm probably wrong with most of what is written here. I will be more than happy if someone corrects me.


Thank you!

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you need to be more flexible with your thinking. In English we can say

give you a call

give you a phone

give you a phonecall

call you

phone you

call your phone


in Chinese you can say

给你打电话 give you a 'call-phone' (nominalised verb that has become fossilised almost like 'phonecall')

给你电话 give you a phone

打你电话 call your phone

给你打 give you a call ('hit you' I suppose English slang also has, as in 'hit you up on your phone

打电话给你 phone-call you (you probably shouldn't learn to speak like this, as 给你 at the beginning is more normal, but this is grammatically acceptable and can be used)


however you want to grammatically label the parts of the sentence is still up to debate, and many still are to this day. Should 打电话 really be understood as nominalised? Is 给 a supporting or a main verb? I don't know, but the more you practice and accumulate, the more you will discover how Chinese people think/feel about these questions.


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7 hours ago, Hagai said:

Well, if I'm wrong (probably) and the model shown in the link is correct, it means the 打电话 becomes a noun, doesn't it?

I think you just misread the article. It says 给 is the target of a verb, and this verb in 我给你打电话 is 打电话. It doesn't say 给 is a ditransitive verb in this example.

Maybe you will prefer this article: https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Expressing_%22for%22_with_%22gei%22

If you want to use 给 similar to give sb sth and treat as a verb,   maybe this example is more proper: 请给我一个吻 — Please give me a kiss.

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