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English "too" ambiguous (use of 也)


三百
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(I'm being punny in the title)

 

大家好!

 

“I sent you a gift too.” 我也给你送了一个礼物。

 

In English, the "too" could apply to the subject, verb, indirect or direct object depending on the context.

 

Early on in my Chinese study I learned the word for "too" as "也", but have been using it incorrectly quite often. I only used it correctly in the first case, as applied to the subject. I'm not sure how to express "too" in the other contexts.

 

Can someone write examples? 谢谢!

 

1. "too" applied to the subject "I" (another co-worker had sent you a gift)

--> *I* sent you a gift too.
--> AS ABOVE 我也给你送了一个礼物。

 

2. "too" applied to the verb "sent" (I arranged a bigger gift to be delivered, in addition to the smaller one I'm handing over now)

--> I *SENT* you a gift too.
--> 我。。。???

 

3. "too" applied to the indirect object "you" (I sent your parents a gift)

--> I sent *YOU* a gift too.
--> 我。。。???

 

4. "too" applied to the direct object "gift" (I sent a thank-you card earlier)

--> I sent you a *GIFT* too.
--> 我。。。???

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Apparently you have an idea that an English word should normally correspond to one word in Chinese.   That's a major mistake about language in general.

 

If you look at dictionary definitions for common English words, often there are 6-20 different definitions for each word.  It's madness to expect one Chinese word to encompass all those different senses. 

 

So the solution for your problem is to start by clarifying what you mean by an English word instead of trying to mechanically substitute English to Chinese one to one.

 

Try rewording your problem sentences without "too" and you'll find it easier!

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Thanks anonymoose. Before you posted, in further digging of the Chinese Grammar Wiki, I had found the <Expressing "and also" with "hai"> page. That gave me some ideas.

In scenarios 2,3,4 from the first post, would these work?


[I might change the verb to 寄  to specify send; I didn't realise 送 can also simply mean give]

2. At an office birthday while handing over a trinket, I say "还有一个礼物我寄了". Or "还寄了一个礼物"?

3. Co-worker is jealous of the gift I sent his parents, I say "还给你寄了一个礼物". Or "还有给你一个礼物" or "还有一个礼物送给你"?

4. Co-worker thanks me for the card, I say "还寄了一个礼物". Or "还有一个礼物寄了"? Could I use 也 somehow: "一个礼物也寄了"?


From my attempts I think you can guess what I'm trying to say even though I have no mastery of the grammar. If any of these can be made to sound better, can you (or anyone else reading this) fix them?


I'm not worried about perfectly correct grammar as I am about awkward grammar. As long as the phrases are understandable and could be spoken in casual conversation I'm fine.

Thanks.

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On 8/31/2021 at 4:00 AM, 三百 said:

[I might change the verb to 寄  to specify send; I didn't realise 送 can also simply mean give]

2. At an office birthday while handing over a trinket, I say "还有一个礼物我寄了". Or "还寄了一个礼物"?

3. Co-worker is jealous of the gift I sent his parents, I say "还给你寄了一个礼物". Or "还有给你一个礼物" or "还有一个礼物送给你"?

4. Co-worker thanks me for the card, I say "还寄了一个礼物". Or "还有一个礼物寄了"? Could I use 也 somehow: "一个礼物也寄了"?

 

寄 does mean to send, but seems to primarily mean send by post. These days, very little is sent by post in China. Mostly things are sent by courier in which case 发 is the preferred verb.

 

For your examples, I would say 我还给你寄了一个礼物 for all of them. In spoken Chinese, the ambiguity would to some extent be resolved by context and which word is stressed in the sentence.

 

On 8/31/2021 at 4:00 AM, 三百 said:

I'm not worried about perfectly correct grammar as I am about awkward grammar.

 

Grammar is awkward when it is not perfectly correct.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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2. "too" applied to the verb "sent" (I arranged a bigger gift to be delivered, in addition to the smaller one I'm handing over now)

--> I *SENT* you a gift too.
--> 送了一个礼物给你了我也。

 

3. "too" applied to the indirect object "you" (I sent your parents a gift)

--> I sent *YOU* a gift too.
--> 你我也送了个礼物。

 

4. "too" applied to the direct object "gift" (I sent a thank-you card earlier)

--> I sent you a *GIFT* too.
--> 礼物我也送了你一个。

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