I'm wondering how to write a dedication (in a book or on a memorial, for example). In English I would inscribe "For my friend." I like the somewhat ambiguous and all-encompassing meaning of this English phrase, as it can mean "I wrote this for my friend" or "I made this for my friend" or "This is to honor my friend" and so on.

Would "为我的朋友" fit this meaning? Would "给我的朋友" be better? Is there an idiomatic phrase or different translation that would be better? Or would I have to lose the ambiguity and translate it more specifically?

I understand that 为 is primarily used to mean "for the sake of," which is sort of the meaning, but "For my friend" also has the meaning of giving something or dedicating something to someone.

EDIT: Based on the comments/answer supplied and further research, my understanding is that there are two ways to write this (neither of which were included in my original question).

献给 seems to have more of a "dedicated to" connotation, while 致 is a more formal/poetic way of devoting or addressing something to someone. Can a native speaker confirm if I am understanding this correctly?

  • 献给,s.e.g. Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, 斯蒂芬·金:肖申克的救赎,For Russ And Florence Dorr-> 献给拉斯和弗洛伦斯·多尔 (this is online, s.ty2016.net/horror)
    – user6065
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 21:46
  • So you are saying that this translation of The Shawshank Redemption uses "献给" in this case, meaning "Dedicated to...", correct?
    – EWC
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 22:03
  • original (unfortunately not online) is as quoted above (also English title is exactly as above), S.King apparently has such a dedication at the start of each of his novels or short stories.
    – user6065
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 22:08
  • look up iciba "dedicate" VERB 把(书、戏剧、音乐作品等)献(给),user: 致 more formal
    – user6065
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 0:35
  • "the" missing? 畅销书"Stephen King, Different Seasons" 包含四本小说并依照扉页包括"Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption",可是目录这样说:"Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption",而小说的第一页同样写着"Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption"
    – user6065
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 20:39

2 Answers 2


致友 致友人 致好友 致故友 致新友 致挚友 致益友 etc.

  • So you would suggest 致 in the sense of "devoted to" my friend? Am I understanding that correctly? Sorry, my mandarin (especially written) is very poor.
    – EWC
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 22:00
  • yes, 致 means "devote to; extend to; deliver to; give to" and used quite often in poems. Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 19:21

"致"is often used in the beginning of the letter. "献给"is a more formal way of "给".

  • Thanks! Interesting, I was getting the impression that 给 was more formal. Would you say that 给 is perhaps more poetic, whereas 献给 is more formal in the sense that it is mostly used for literary dedications, etc.? Or am I just interpreting things incorrectly?
    – EWC
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 18:14
  • Beethoven's piano music to Alice,we Chinese translate it to"献给" Give me a chocolate,this is absolutely translated into"给",nobody will use " 献给",or folks will think what's wrong with you. while"give flowers to girls or something like that",it could be used"献给" so "给"is often used in oral Chinese and daily life,sometimes in formal way,while "献给"is usually more formal or poetic
    – user148874
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 20:59
  • I see. Thank you! I got confused and used the wrong character in my comment above, so it doesn't really make sense, but your explanation is helpful.
    – EWC
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 0:52
  • Glad to help you
    – user148874
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 2:20
  • To add some more information to this old thread. I found page 154 in Chinese PhD Thesis Acknowledgements by Hua Peng quite useful. "獻給" appears to be a common choice for writing a dedication: 本文是獻給父母親的。 Link: books.google.at/…
    – Paul
    Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 21:53

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