Can natives and other knowledgeable people share their ideas on how to differentiate between many "to give" verbs?

The list is not complete. Anyone is welcome to add their "gives" in it.

  1. 施 - Glyph origin: a depiction of a "waving banner" + "to be low" = so Connotation: "to spread" as a flag in a wind.

  2. 给 - Glyph origin:? connotation:neutral.

  3. 予 - Glyph origin: depiction of a shuttle in a loom machine. Connotation:?

  4. 赏 - Glyph origin:? connotation:?

3 Answers 3


is the most common one and the equivalent to give in modern Chinese.

And we do not use the single character . It is usually in words like 施舍施予 etc. Don't know where you see it meaning "waving banner" or "to spread". It just means normal to give in some words. However, this character have several means other than "give", which can be only identified by the word or context.

Also is not used alone. "a looming shuttle" ??? I've no idea about this. Common words including : ~以 赐~ 赋~ 给~ . Note: sometimes its meaning is an abstraction of "give", and can be translated as "grant".

Last one, , when it is a verb, the most precise translation maybe award, meaning grant someone his/her reward, and usually given by his/her superiors. For example, giving some gold to a war hero from his monarch.

  • 1. I know that in chinese those hanzi are not used alone. I ask for different connotations of "to give" they bring when they are used. i.e. ceremony-give, fast-give, give-with-a-bow and ect. 2.waving banner is an etymology of that character
    – coobit
    Jun 21, 2016 at 12:04
  • shuttle in a weaving machinecalled "a loom". Sorry for "looming" thing :)
    – coobit
    Jun 21, 2016 at 12:38
  • note special role of 给,which besides being a regular (double object) verb is a coverb (cf。CCG,occurring with other verbs, expressing concepts very similar to those expressed by prepositions in E,cf。向,于)e.g.送给、付给,传给。
    – user6065
    Jun 22, 2016 at 0:21

there're numerous ways to express "to give" in chinese.

70+, according to 漢語多功能字庫:


even an old dictionary in 19th century, "give" needs 2 volumes to explain.

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this question needs a long, long answer, have fun :)

  • 施 - Like passers-by to beggars, have means of "succor"
  • 给 - neutral,just give.(daily use)
  • 予 - just give, often combine with 给~,~以(often used in official)
  • 赏 - In the past was superior leadership to her/his subordinate, at present it often used in joke that he/she is your superior, you must take orders from him/her.
  • If 施 sometimes used as a "donation" to a beggar as in 施舍, then 也(chi) can be imagined as a "low person, a beggar" or as something (a flag) touching the ground (spreading + down). Ok. This works for me. But 施工? I just don't feel the right "connotation" of 施 to undestand this word.
    – coobit
    Jun 29, 2016 at 11:04
  • what we talked about is the different of the 4 words, not each words all means.
    – Y.Xiaojun
    Jul 1, 2016 at 1:19
  • And one word will have many meaning in the different combined words. You must consider the dialogue environment.
    – Y.Xiaojun
    Jul 1, 2016 at 1:26

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