I'm confused. Does this '要之何用' mean 'Is there any use?', or could the '之' in this phrase be regarded as a possessive article and therefore the phrase would mean 'What is the use (for someone)'? Or did I get both of them wrong?


1 Answer 1


之 following a noun is a possessive marker

之 following a verb '要'(have) here is a pronoun for 'it'

More examples of 之 as a pronoun when it follows a verb:

  • 叫他进来然后(之) - ask him to come in and then kill (him)

  • 没有酒就以水(之) - If there's no wine, use water to substitute (it)

要(钱)何用? = having (money) for what use?

要(之)何用? = having (it) for what use?

'之' is the pronoun for 'money'

  • Is it awkward or not correct to use here, such that 要之为何用? Because in English for is needed, so it sounds more natural for me...
    – Blaszard
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 2:10
  • "要之何用" is a classical style phrase. In modern Chinese, it would be "要(他/它/这个) 来有什么用" - "要之何用" can be extended to "要之有何用处" but it would be a mix of classical and modern style.
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 2:23

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