How to use 关于 (guānyú) and 对于 (duìyú) correctly in Chinese

The words 关于 (guānyú) and 对于 (duìyú) are both prepositions in Chinese grammar, and can both be used to express “about” or “regarding”. Here's how to use them correctly for different purposes.

关于 (guānyú): “about” / scoping

关于 is often equivalent to “about” in English. It's a preposition, which means that it is used to mark the role of another word in a sentence. Like 对于, described below, it can also mean “regarding” or “concerning”.

Using 关于 to mark a topic

关于 can be placed before the topic of a Chinese sentence to introduce it and mark it as the topic.

Some examples:

关于电脑,她知道的比我多。

Guānyú diànnǎo, tā zhīdào de bǐ wǒ duō.

She knows more about computers than I do.

关于那件事,我不要再谈了。

Guānyú nā jiàn shì, wǒ bùyào zài tán le.

I don't want to talk about it.

关于新的环保政策,你有什么看法?

Guānyú xīn de huánbǎo zhèngcè, nǐ yǒu shénme kànfǎ?

What's your opinion on the new environmental policy?

Note how each of these sentences has the same structure:

关于[topic],[comment]。

Guānyú [topic], [comment].

Regarding [topic], [comment].

关于 introduces the topic first in the same way that “regarding” might be used in more formal English. The comment or question about the topic then comes afterward.

Using 关于 with the object

关于 can also be used with the object of the sentence to add some information about it.

The general structure for this is 关于___的___. Optionally, 有 (yǒu) can be added in front: 有关于___的___. The whole unit can then be used as the object of a sentence.

Some examples:

我想给你们讲一个关于旅游的故事。

Wǒ xiǎng gěi nǐmen jiǎng yī gè guānyú lǚyóu de gùshì.

I'd like to tell you a story about travelling.

这是一篇有关于太阳能的文章。

Zhè shì yī piān yǒuguānyú tàiyángnéng de wénzhāng.

This is an article about solar power.

我们想得到更多关于他的信息。

Wǒmen xiǎng dédào gēng duō guānyú tā de xìnxī.

We'd like to get more information about him.

Notice how in each sentence, 关于 or 有关于 is used to attach extra information to the object. The sentences would still work without this extra information added via 关于.

E.g.,

我想给你们讲一个故事。

Wǒ xiǎng gěi nǐmen jiǎng yī gè gùshì.

I'd like to tell you a story.

This is a valid sentence on its own. The “关于旅游的” part is used to attach extra information to the object.

对于 (duìyú): “regarding” / transposition

对于 can also mean “regarding” or “concerning”. Unlike 关于, it can also be equivalent to “as far as” in English.

对于 is used to transpose the object of a sentence. This means that it can move the object closer to the beginning of the sentence, to make the topic clearer.

Using 对于 with the subject

对于这个,我不确定。

Duìyú zhège, wǒ bù quèdìng.

I'm not sure about that.

对于做寿司,他很有经验。

Duìyú zuòshòu sī, tā hěn yǒu jīngyàn.

He's very experienced at making sushi.

对于足球,她乐此不疲。

Duìyú zúqiú, tā lè cǐ bù pí.

She is never bored with football.

对于[topic]来说

对于 can also be combined with 来说 (lái shuō) in this structure: “对于[topic]来说,[comment]”. This emphasises the sense of “as far as [topic] is concerned, [comment]".

Some examples:

对于健康来说,喝酒是十分不利的。

Duìyú jiànkāng lái shuō, hējiǔ shì shífēn bùlì de.

As far as health is concerned, alcohol is highly detrimental.

对于我来说,这是个好消息。

Duìyú wǒ lái shuō, zhè shì gè hǎo xiāoxi.

As far as I'm concerned, this is good news.

对于他们来说,死亡并不可怕。

Duìyú tāmen lái shuō, sǐwáng bìngbù kěpà.

As far as they are concerned, death is nothing to be afraid of.

Using 对于 with any noun

Similarly to 关于, 对于 can also be combined with a noun to attach more information to it and make a more complex noun phrase. The structure for this is “对于___的___”.

Some examples:

我们要提高全球对于环境保护的意识。

Wǒmen yào tígāo quánqiú duìyú huánjìng bǎohù de yìshí.

We want to raise global awareness of environmental protection.

这就是他们对于这件事情的看法。

Zhè jiùshì tāmen duìyú zhè jiàn shìqing de kànfǎ.

That's their opinion regarding this.

这是因为中国文化对于教育的高度重视。

Zhè shì yīnwèi Zhōngguó wénhuà duìyú jiàoyù de gāodù zhòngshì.

This is due to the importance that Chinese culture places on education.

关于 vs 对于 summary

关于 and 对于 can both express senses of “about”, “regarding” or “concerning”. 关于 is most often equivalent to “about” in English, whilst 对于 is more equivalent to “concerning”.

As always, try to focus on example sentences and getting more Chinese input to build a natural sense of how to use these words.

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