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I've read 于 was a preposition, but there were many unrelated translations for it. 之 is as far as I know an object pronoun, like for instance him, her, them but can also mean somthing different.

How is this expression actually used in classical Chinese? What is its verbatim meaning? Why does the contraction 焉 sound so much different than the two characters?

  • It is 于之 = at it/ on it, but not 与之 = with it. – Wala Oct 25 '14 at 15:24
  • You may think 之 is more like the relative pronoun which and 焉 where. It's just that we don't really have relative clauses in Chinese, so 之 and 焉 may look like it and there respectively. I'm not sure if 焉 was really a contraction of 于之, but I suppose it's not. It could be related to another interrogative pronoun 安 where. Perhaps Chinese was an inflectional language and had a complete system of pronouns, but the difference was lost. As a result, 焉 is sometimes the same as 于之, sometimes the same as 安. – Yang Muye Nov 20 '14 at 15:54
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My teacher told me that 焉 equals to 于(at) + 之(a kind of pronoun).

与 usually equals to "and".

But in 君共饮, the 与 means do sth with sb or do sth together.

陈涉少时,尝人佣耕: (work) for.

吾孰徐公美: Compare with someone/sth else.

朝过夕改,君子之: Agree with ...

I haven't all of the uses of 与 because these are common. It's not good for you to have a study about all the uses of one word though some of them are not common because they will confuse you.

I hope these will help you.

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