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A discussion arose from this post In ` 向谁说`, does `向` play the same role / have the same meaning as `对`?

What is the role of the noun after 向 in "向 + noun + verb"?

Is it the object? Someone argued 向 is a preposition, which introduces a prepositional phrase, therefore, the noun after 向 cannot be the object.

So, What is the role of 美國 in "中國向美國報復"?

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This kind of confusion is usually caused by using English grammar to understand Chinese.

In Chinese grammar, 中國向美國報復:

中国, subject

向美国, prepositional phrase worked as adverbial(介词短语作状语); 美国 is the object of the preposition 向.

報復,predicate(谓语)

| improve this answer | |
  • I upvoted this, because your explanation is simple and (mostly) correct. However, about your last remark, I must point out that direct vs. indirect object is a linguistics concept, which exists both in English and Chinese. It's not "English perspective", it's linguistics. – blackgreen Aug 19 at 10:18
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – blackgreen Aug 19 at 11:21
  • I deleted most of the comments here (although they can be found in the above chat); I feel this back-and-forth is better off in chat. – Becky 李蓓 Aug 19 at 11:33
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  • [中國 (subject)] [向 (preposition) 美國 (indirect object) [報復 (verb) (intransitive verb, no direct object)]

  • [中國 (subject)] [向 (preposition) 美國 (indirect object) [徵收 (verb)][關稅 (direct object)]

Even "向美國" is a prepositional phrase, it doesn't change the fact that the target of 報復 is 美國. Since we know the direct object is 關稅, 美國 would be an indirect object in this sentence

Similarly,

In "我向彼得投球":

我 = subject

向 = preposition

彼得 = indirect object

投 = verb

球 = direct object

~

In "我投球給彼得"

我 = subject

投 = verb

球 = direct object

給 = preposition

彼得 = indirect object

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  • 彼得 isn't indirect object. we understand "我向彼得投球" as I throw the ball in the direction of Peter / towards Peter. So, 向彼得 is adverbial to modify the predicate 投球. – dan Aug 19 at 3:20
  • "我向彼得投球" and "我向彼得的方向投球" are two different things. – Tang Ho Aug 19 at 5:30
  • 我投球給彼得, in Chinese grammar, 給彼得 is a complement (补语),denoting aim or purpose(目的). – dan Aug 19 at 5:55

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