I've read an article and found this sentence 傷痛向誰說 where is right after an object.

For example: 我对你说, due to , the word needs to be right after the object .

Is it due to that needs to be right after ? e.g. [向 + object] + verb is a must?

And is 傷痛說向誰 wrong?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 8:43

3 Answers 3


对 implies you have a clearer target, picturing a face to face.

With 向, the target is bit vague, picturing you say something towards someone.

So, 傷痛向誰說 sounds more helpless because there isn't any clue for you to find anyone to speak about the pain. 傷痛对誰說 sounds that you can not find a target to talk with about the pain, implying who should be responsible for listening to me.

With all that said, 傷痛說向誰 can be valid but meaning literally as if saying I have pains. Towards whom should I shoot them. 傷痛說对誰 is simply wrong. It's because 向 can be used as the complement of the verb 说, whilst 对 can not be a complement of a verb. E. g. we say 打向他,撞向他, but not 打对他,撞对他.

Using topic-comment theory, topic: 傷痛. comment: 向誰說/說向誰. This might not be relevant to your issue(distinction between 对 and 向). It's just an FYI.


'誰' in "誰說傷痛?" is equal to the pronoun "who" in English.

誰 is the Subject, 說 is the Verb and 傷痛 is the Object. (It is an SVO sentence)


'誰' in "傷痛向誰說?" is part of a complement introduced by 向, so it can be translated as the pronoun "whom" in English.

The sentence follows the [topic + comment] structure: 傷痛 is the topic, 向誰說 is the comment:

Topic: 傷痛 = pain

Comment: 向誰說 = whom I should say to

The comment itself is an SVO sentence with the subject omitted

You can have a different comment, e.g. 傷痛(topic) + 我受不了 (comment)

In 向谁说, does play the same role / have the same meaning as ?

說傷痛 = say pain

[SVO] (向谁)说傷痛 = (to whom) I say pain?

[topic + comment] - 傷痛(向谁)说 = pain, I say (to whom)?

向 sounds more proactive and 对 sounds more interactive

And is 傷痛說向誰 wrong?

傷痛說向誰 is wrong. It is an SVO sentence, the object 傷痛 should not be placed before the verb 說

  • @blackgreen You mean in '向公司投訴', and '向獵物射擊', 公司 and 獵物 are not the objects?
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 16:39
  • @blackgreen how is it after the edit?
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 17:01
  • 1
    Yes, the topic-comment structure doesn’t alter the grammatical role of the elements of the sentence. A direct object is still a direct object, an omitted subject is still an omitted subject
    – blackgreen
    Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 17:13
  • 1
    I agree with your assessment. e.g. 向人推銷 sounds more proactive than 对人推銷
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 18:26
  • 1
    Whatever in between preposition ... verb phrases is the object. That is the point of the structure -- to change word order away from SVO, potentially add emphasis or other connotations while designating the object. From the sound of it, @blackgreen prefers to consider the preposition + noun (向谁) part as a preposition phrase the same way preposition phrases are in English. Falling out of that, prepositional phrase in front of verb in an SVO language is not the object in English linguistics. And in that case there is no object. I think that's forcing English linguistics onto Chinese. (cont next)
    – Argyll
    Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 22:18

As for the question in your title, yes, they are the same. Sometimes it's just a fancy way to express the same thing. 向 is a little bit fancier, or poetic, while 对 is widely used in plain texts or conversations. In some dialects 跟 can also be used, they are all the same.

It's like when you write a poem in English, you just need a different word than daily conversations. And 傷痛向誰說 feels like a sentence from a song's lyrics or modern poem, because 傷痛 is rarely used in daily conversations.

As for 傷痛說向誰, @dan's answer is pretty clear. Just to add a little bit, 傷痛說向誰 is valid and meaningful in poetics, and is even more 'poetic' then 傷痛向誰說. For example, the following ancient poem use similar grammar:

馨香唯有蝶先知 漫吐芳心说向谁

Many times poems and song lyrics simply don't follow the 'daily' grammar strictly because they need to rhyme, simple as that. Also, the ancient Chinese had a different 'convention' than the current one, and in poems it's pretty common to mix them. Some of the 'ancient' grammar are still in use but only in limited circumstances. Things can get even more complicated regarding dialects, They vary so much that you can call them different languages.

If you listen to Chinese pop songs you'll find some lyrics that look really weird in grammar, sometimes the artists do it deliberately to express an idea or a feeling, most of the time they just mess with the order of the words to rhyme. And occasionally, if the writer is sub-par, they just write meaningless sentences and call it art. It's subtle, but keep reading and writing and you'll feel the difference.

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