From a news article I found through Baidu, we have:

(Tā duì Victoria de ài, suǒyǒu rén dōu kàn zài yǎn lǐ.)

I'm not sure how to translate this; maybe something like "everyone can see his love for Victoria in his eyes", but I'm just guessing. I've seen this style of sentence before (jukuu.com):

Her passion for me has cooled down.
(Tā duì wǒ de rèqíng yǐjīng lěng qǐláile.)

Both have the style of beginning [someone]对[someone else]的[something]... I'm confused as to how this works. In particular, it seems the 的 particle in the second example above applies not to 我 but to 她.

Question: How does 他对我的... work?

I'm hoping to get a basic explanation and some simple illustrative examples.

I'm familiar with e.g. 他对我不公平 (tā duì wǒ bù gōngpíng) = "he is unfair to me", but it seems different with the particle 的.

  • 1st sentence has 他对Victoria的爱 as fronted object 前置宾语,2nd (cf. answer) is SVO, as for "topic and comment" or "sentence with S-P phrase as predicate, 主谓谓语句,also called "telescopic construction" note the following examples (CCG) 她脾气很坏,这两个孩子身体很好,这件衣服,领子太大,袖子太短
    – user6065
    Oct 6 '17 at 15:48

Question: How does 他对我的... work?

1. Simple phrase: [Subject + 的 + object]


"她的爱" = "Her love"

"他的恨" = "His hate"

2. Simple phrase: [Subject + 的 + object] with (relative phrase)


"她(对我)的爱" = "Her love (for me)" -- 对我 is the relative phrase for 她的爱

"他(对你)的恨" = "His hate (for you)" -- 对你 is the relative phrase for 他的恨

  • Relative clause/phrase add additional information to the main clause /phrase

More examples:

"他的爱" = "his love"

"他 [对 Victoria] 的爱" = "his love [for Victoria]"

"她的热情已经冷起来了" = "her passion had cooled down"

"她[对我]的热情已经冷起来了" = "her passion [for me] had cooled down "

  • Sorry to bother you, but is "他对Victoria的爱" a sentence in itself? The sentence "his love for Victoria" wouldn't be considered complete in English.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Oct 7 '17 at 1:30
  • 1
    @Becky 李蓓 - "他对Victoria的爱" lacking a verb, therefore, it is a phrase, not a complete sentence. -- If you wrote: "他对Victoria的爱从不改变" then it would be a complete sentence, because it has [subject(他对Victoria的爱)] and [verb(改变)] - [no object]
    – Tang Ho
    Oct 7 '17 at 2:03

This is a language phenomenon called “topic and comment” (or: “theme and rheme”) that exists in many (if not all?) languages, but is realized differently from language to language.

In both of your examples, the first part (他对Victoria的爱 and 他对我的热情) is introduced as the topic and then commented upon in the second part.

To make it look more correct, you can imagine an omitted 至于 (“As to...”) in the beginning of the sentence:


As to his love for Victoria, everyone could see it in his eyes.


As to her warmth for me, they had already cooled down

Since your second example does not end in a period, one could expect it to continue. For example:


As to her warmth for me having already cooled down [there is nothing I can do about it.]

This structure does not necessarily follow the typical SVO structure of Chinese grammar, but there are many very typical Chinese patterns which do not follow SVO.

On the other hand, your second example could be read as a simple sentence: 她对我的热情 is the (extended) subject, 已经冷起来了 is the predicate (with adverbial).

Her warmth for me has already cooled down

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