In English, we can say "He bought something to eat," where "to eat" functions like an adjective to "something." I'm wondering whether in Classical Chinese, "以 V 之" shares this function.

I'd appreciate your help.

  • 2
    using grammar to comprehend classical chinese is, like using newton physics to explain the paradox “Schrödinger's cat”. sincerely, be open minded, shift paradigm 😸 – 水巷孑蠻 Aug 19 at 4:13
  • How do you interpret ""每多得鰻黧魚以食之"? – Apollyon Aug 19 at 5:59
  • @水巷孑蠻 On the contrary, I do recommend to learn the grammar for 古汉语. But of course, it's hard though. – dan Aug 19 at 23:49
  • @dan, to comprehend classical chinese, it’s really hard by using grammar 🙀 shift paradigm lah 😸 – 水巷孑蠻 Aug 20 at 0:47

in classical chinese, the structure “以” + one character + “之” could be interpreted in multiple ways.

in the analects (論語), chapter 為政:


confucius said (子曰): “the book of odes” (詩三百), in one verse, (一言) for (以) summarising (蔽) it (之) ; [which] is (曰): think (思) without (無) depravation (邪)

that, “it” referred back to “the book of odes”


again in the analects (論語), chapter 里仁:

子曰・. . . ・好仁者・無以尚之

confucius said (子曰): “. . ., those who (者) preferred (好) virtue (仁), nothing (無) could be (以) appended to (尚) [his/her goodness] (之)

i would interpret like this, others might disagree :)


in the book “稽神錄”, volume 3:

. . . 頃之・其女病・即生釘棺中・流之於江・至金山・有漁人見而異之・引之至岸・開視之・見女子猶活・因取置漁舍中・多得鰻鯬魚以食之・久之病愈・遂為漁人之妻・至今尚無恙

many times (多), catching (得) eels (鰻鯬魚) for (以) feeding (食 —> 餵食) her (之)

or, repeatedly (多), using (得) eels (鰻鯬魚) to (以) feed (食 —> 餵食) her (之)

in which, her (之) is referred to the sick girl (女病) whom is put into a coffin alive (生釘棺中), dropped into the river (流之於江), and saved by the fisherman.

treat “食” as “eat” in the above verses is, incorrect.

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have fun :)

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