的 - 給他的

viajero_canjeado

Senior Member
English - Southeastern USA
Can anyone give me a lucid explanation of why the 的 is used in sentences like the thread name as well as

問他的
他教我的
我會想你的

Or a referral would be great too.

Thanks!
 
  • tristen

    Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    (这是)给他的 - something for him
    问他的 - some information from him. I got the information from him
    (这是)他教我的 - something he taught me
    的 in these three phrases bears similar meaning.

    我会想你的 = 我会想你. I will miss you. It is less formal when you have a 的 at the end.
     

    viajero_canjeado

    Senior Member
    English - Southeastern USA
    tristen,

    Hi, I appreciate your response, but you haven't really answered the question. Why is 的 at the end of those sentences? It doesn't really show possession and it isn't adjectival.. so what's the difference in meaning between those examples and leaving out the 的?
     

    samanthalee

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    For the first 3, "給他的", "問他的" and "他教我的", 的 is used for descriptive attributive to 東西。They are:
    "給他東西"(things that were given to him),
    "問他東西"(information which was requested from him)
    "他教我東西"(the things which he taught me).
    東西 was dropped because its existence is obvious, dropping it wouldn't change the meaning of the sentence and hence is redundant.

    For "我會想你的", 的 is used as an emphasizing affirmative. eg. 是的 means 是 with emphasis that I am absolutely certain it is so.
     

    viajero_canjeado

    Senior Member
    English - Southeastern USA
    Okay, I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around this because the way you translated those sentences, samanthalee, is different than how I think about them in the contexts I've heard them. You put the first two into the passive voice with an emphasis on an unmentioned noun, but I think of them all as being used in the active voice.

    ie:

    給他的 : Give it to him.
    馬可教我的: Mark taught it to me.
    我會問他的: I'll ask him/her.

    The 的 doesn't translate into English in those sentences.. to me it would be more natural to say (as it's more similar to English) if 的 were simply left out. I'm trying to see how a Chinese person thinks about it though, and what reasoning calls for keeping it in.

    I've also heard this structure is more commonly used by girls, at least in Taiwan; would you agree?
     

    tristen

    Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    给他的 and 马可教我的。 For these two phrases, if you leave out 的, the meaning will be different.
    给他 - (Please) give it to him.
    马可教我 - Mark, please teach me. / I prefer Mark to teach me.
    In both cases, it sounds like a imperative sentence.

    But with a 的 at the end, it emphasizes something, object / information / person ....
    给他的 - this is for HIM.
    马克教我的 - MARK taught me.
     

    samanthalee

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    I've also heard this structure is more commonly used by girls, at least in Taiwan; would you agree?
    Perhaps. Using passive voice sounds less aggressive. For example:
    A: What should I do with this?
    B: This is to be given to him. [ie. I'm stating my request without actually "ordering" you to do it. If I request you to do it, you'll be obliged to do so as dictated by courtesy; so a request is essentially an order.]


    but I think of them all as being used in the active voice.

    ie:

    給他的 : Give it to him.
    馬可教我的: Mark taught it to me.
    我會問他的: I'll ask him/her.
    If these are taken as active voice, the 的 functions as an emphasizing particle.
    給他的: emphasizing it is for him and no one else.
    馬可教我的: emphasizing that if it is wrong, the blame lies with Mark.
    我會問他的: emphasizing affirmative. Reassuring that I'll definitely ask him.
     

    DavidCornell

    Senior Member
    China, Mandarin
    these structures are ambiguous without context. For example:

    马克教我的 can mean two things:

    (1) consider the following dialog:

    A:你应该这样做,来,你看,这样
    B:不对,马克教我的是这样,你看,这样,不是你那样。

    (A: You should do this, see, like this.
    B: no, what Mark taught me is this, not like that.)

    In this usage, the 的 is a nominalizer, which means it turns a VP into a NP. It is similar to the English "what VP", or "that which", or the Spanish "lo que" etc.

    So 给他的 means "what (the understood subject) gave him". The subject is omitted since it is probably retrievable from context. You can translate all these using the "what VP" structure. Also for example: 你想要的=lo que tú quieras

    What Samanthalee talked about in her reply is this use of the structure.

    (2) now let's take a look at the second use, consider

    A: 你怎么会打高尔夫?
    B: 马克教我的。

    (A: How come you can play golf?
    B: Mark taught me.)

    In this case, the 的 is an elliptical form of the cleft construction 是...的... (it is ... that...) So 马克教我的=it is Mark who taught me.

    This is actually what you were asking in your original post.
     
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