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汉语语法Chinese Grammar: Complement of degree【Verb+得+Adv(degree)】

The complement degree construction is commonly used in the following situations.

  1. To describe habitual actions. In other words, it is used to describe how someone normally does something.
  2. To describe the result of a particular action.
  3. To describe the extent of a stative verb.

得de is always preceded by a verb. It is important to remember that when you use a verb which is in the verb-object form, you must make sure that the verb (but not the object) is placed before 得 de. Because of this, a verb is often repeated in the first part of a complement of degree construction. For instance,

s

v-o / topic

v

adv

游   泳

很   快。

yóu yŏng

yóu

de

hěn kuài

I swim very quickly.

As you may know, 游泳yóuyŏng is a verb in the V-O form, in other words, 泳 yŏng is a noun, so it should not be placed before 得de. In spoken Chinese, people often omit the object of a V-O phrase when using the complement of degree construction. If the V-O (topic) is clear to listeners, the topic can be omitted.  For example:

s

v-o / topic

v

adv

很   快。

yóu

de

hěn kuài

I swim very quickly.

不 bú, the negation for the complement of degree is placed before adverbs. For example,

s

v-o / topic

v

adv

游   泳

不   快。

yóu yŏng

yóu

de

bú kuài

I don’t swimming quickly.

Sometimes the verb in the topic is omitted to avoid repetition, and the object of the sentence can be placed before the verb. For instance,

s

v-o / topic

v

adv

中      国     菜

真    不 错。

zhōngguó cài

zuò

de

zhēn búcuò

She cooks Chinese meal really well.

The above examples describe habitual actions. When the complement of degree is used to describe the outcome of a particular completed action, a time word is needed, as a verb that is placed before de cannot take the aspect particle le. For example,

tw

s

v-o / topic

v

adv

昨  天    晚   上

中      国     菜

真    不 错。

zuótiān wănshang

zhōngguó cài

zuò

de

zhēn búcuò

She cooked a Chinese meal really well last night.

However, the aspect 了le does not affect verbs that are used to describe the outcome of actions. In other words, verbs that are placed after 得de can still take aspect 了le. For example,

s

sv

degree

小     王

难   过

哭了  两     天。

Xiǎo Wáng

nánguò

de

kūle   liǎngtiān

Xiao Wang was so sad that she cried for two days.

As you may have noticed, aspect了 le is used for the verb to cry in the clause that describes the stative verb 难过 nánguò to be sad. The above example illustrates the fact that the 得 de construction can also be used to describe the extent of the stative verb. For instance,

s

sv

degree

中        文

我 们    都    不  想      学  了。

Zhōng wén

nán

de

wŏmén dōu bù xiăng xué le

Chinese is so difficult that we don’t want to learn it any more!

In the above sentence, the phrase 我们都不想学了 wŏmén dōu bù xiăng xué le we don’t want to learn it any more describes the extent of the difficulty.

s

sv

degree

我们

每  天 都  不 睡 觉。

wŏmen

máng

de

měitiān dōu bù shuìjiào

We are so busy that we don’t even sleep a single day.

The phrase we don’t even sleep a single day describes the extent of the matter.

August 17, 2012

1 comment

  1. 我的句子:

    他敲门敲得很大声。
    He knocked on the door loudly.

    我敲得很大声。
    I knocked loudly.

    昨晚那个健身房会员表达得很明确。
    The gym member expressed his opinion clearly last night.

    他们生气得吵架吵了两天。
    They were so angry that they argued for two days.

    她那个歌曲唱得真不错。
    She sings that song really well.

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