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这一个是要给李芳的。

I understand by the context that it is referring to a gift(礼物)for 李芳. And the sentence is translated like "this one is for 李芳."

But why is 要 in the sentence? Cause if it has the function of a modal verb then it must be put before 是 which is the verb, and also it can't be a verb cause 是 already is the verb.

Why not just something like "这一个是给李芳的。" ??

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  • 要 add the meaning of 'need to' or 'intended to'
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 2, 2021 at 3:59
  • Your comment is correct. 要 is unnecessary in this sentence. However, it has been so spoken by many native speakers without attributing a special meaning to it.
    – r13
    Dec 2, 2021 at 15:38

1 Answer 1

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  1. I would tend to look at 是⋯⋯的 as a set for emphasis. With it removed, the sentence still means the same: 這一個要給李芳。

  2. 'For', a preposition, is not a terribly literal translation of 給, a verb meaning 'to give'. We translate 這一個(要)給李芳 naturally to 'This is for Li Fang' because it makes more sense this way in English, not necessarily because they are grammatically equivalent. However, since you're probing into grammar, there is the need to think more precisely.

    The gift (這一個) cannot 'give' (給) itself to Li Fang. A doer is needed, say 我 'I', but it is understood to be the speaker themself and there is no need to say it explicitly. In fact, the sentence should be like this:

    這一個//我(要)給李芳 Regarding this (gift), I am giving it to Li Fang.

  3. 這一個//我(要)給李芳 is a topic-comment sentence. 這一個 is the topic, and 我(要)給李芳 is the sentence.

  4. 要 indicates an intention to act and can be placed before the verb. The gift is not sent yet; the speaker has the intention to give it (要給) to Li Fang. There is ambiguity in 這一個我給李芳 in that the listener does not know whether the gift is sent or not.

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  • Quote:- "There is ambiguity in 這一個我給李芳 in that the listener does not know whether the gift is sent or not" My view is that "這一個" implies that the "gift" is physically present at the time of speaking?, unless the speaker is pointing to some document, say, an invoice or receipt which evince the gift. I am of course commenting generally, without the benefit of context. Dec 2, 2021 at 5:08
  • In fact, 這一個, also implies that there are a few, (at least more than one), gifts present at time of speaking and the speaker is indicating that a particular one is meant to be given to Li Fang. Dec 2, 2021 at 5:49
  • Hi all, please forgive me, but I feel the need to tell you that traditional characters may add frustration to beginners, as if it were another language (and for sure needing translation). I understand it is simpler for you, as it might be for me to answer in Italian. Dec 2, 2021 at 17:04
  • I have a "drastic" solution. Every time someone writes in traditional characters "Reputation Points" be deducted, (based on an upward sliding scale commensurate with the number of times the "offense" is committed) Dec 3, 2021 at 5:39

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