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In the link below, the wiki page talks about 给 in this structure.

Subj. + 给 + Target + [Verb Phrase]

https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Verbs_preceded_by_%22gei%22

But I don't understand 晚饭妈妈做了面条给我们吃。

The part before 给 is not a subject. Rather, it's a complete sentence. How would you explain this grammar?

Thanks.

2 Answers 2

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It is a [topic + comment/ opinion] grammar structure

晚饭 (dinner) is a topic

妈妈做了面条给我们吃。(mother made noodle for us to eat) is a comment

The comment here is a basic [Subject +V + object]

  • You can replace the topic, e.g. Change 晚饭 to 午餐 and write "午餐妈妈做了面条" = "(for) lunch, mom made noodle"

  • You can replace the comment, e.g. Change 面条 to 饺子 and "晚饭妈妈做了饺子" = "(for) dinner, mom made dumplings"

Similar example:

Topic: 工作 (works)

Comment: 很难找到 (very hard to find)

  • Topic + comment sentence: 工作很难找到 (works are very hard to find )

  • SVO sentence: 很难找到工作 (it is hard to find works)

Using [topic + comment sentence] emphasize the topic

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  • I understand is a topic comment structure now. What I don’t understand is 给我们吃 structure after the comment. Where is that grammar point.
    – ANTXON
    Nov 7, 2019 at 22:03
  • 給 before the object “us” is functioning as “for”
    – Tang Ho
    Nov 7, 2019 at 22:46
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As mentioned in Tang Ho's answer, this is a topic+comment structure.

Regarding your question as to the 给我们吃 structure:I have disagreed with Tang Ho in other places regarding this, but my opinion is that it is much more useful to understand 给 as the verb that it clearly is, rather than a preposition. 给我们吃 can be understood as “Give us to eat". We can treat this whole phrase as a result complement of the verb phrase “做了面条”.

Compare this to a more classically accepted example of a result complement: 看完 = finish reading. Verb phrase is 看, to read, and the complement is "complete". So 看完 = reading to the effect of completion.

By this logic: 做了面条给我们吃 = made noodles to the effect of giving us something to eat.

Of course the smoother translation would use the preposition "for", as that is how English works. It's not how Chinese works, though, so if you're trying to understand why this structure is used in this way it is not so useful to think of 给 as "for". It means "to give", though it is used to much greater effect in Chinese than the English verb "to give".

Preempting the disagreements that will likely follow this post: If 给 means "for", then 给我吃面条 would mean "eat noodles for me" instead of "give me noodles to eat", which of course it doesn't.

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