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A lesson on how to use 之

Suggested Difficulty (Elementary etc): Pre-intermediate / Intermediate
Video or Audio: Video
Lesson Idea: Hi Team,

I would like to see a lesson on how to use 之

If there is already a lesson on this topic it would be great if you could let me know.


Good suggestion! I just searched our library but I don’t think we have a lesson on this topic. Could you let me know specifically which usage of 之 you would like to learn more? 之 can be a traditional form of 的 and it is also the most common usage that you would see in this day and age because this is a word more often used in ancient China.


I second this suggestion! I just completed the lesson on Classical vs. Modern Chinese and found learning about this usage of 之 interesting.

Great to know! Let me give you an example: The idiom 言外之意 means “hidden message” or more literally, “the meaning outside of the words”. In this usage, 之 means 的 (possessive article), indicating the meaning “of” something.

Well l suppose I was thinking of a lesson which discusses the different ways of using 之 rather than a lesson on one specific use of 之. Kind of like those “All the Way to Intermediate” lessons like "4 Ways to Use 也 ” or “3 Ways to Use 都”. So may there could be a lesson called “3 (or 4) Ways to Use 之”. But maybe it’s just not that commonly used in so many different ways? I just know that when I see it I often don’t know how to translate it. Maybe it is the possessive form I see, but also I think you can have 之一 for “one of” and 分之 for fractions?

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Ah I see. Actually, 之 in 之一 and 分之 represents the possessive relationship, although it might be a bit implicit. For example, 他是我喜欢的明星之一 “He’s one of the stars I like”. In this sentence, 明星之一 means “one of the stars” and 之 can be understood as “of”. Similarly, 十分之一 (one-tenth) means “one out of ten”, and you can also see 之 as “of”. I would say most of the 之 you see in modern context can be interpreted as “of”, and although it has many other meanings, you only see them in the traditional Chinese context (poems, literature etc.).
Could you think of other examples of 之 and where you saw it?


Actually I just saw Joshua using 之前 in the lesson “3 ways to use 都” at about 3:22