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汉语语法 Chinese Grammar: 情态补语(1) The complement of state(1)

In Chinese, a verb or an adjective is frequently followed by an element providing further detail or explanation. This is called the complement. Among the various forms of complements, the one that describes or comments on the achieved state of an action is called the complement of state. It is usually formed by an adjective or an adjective phrase. The structural particle “得” must be placed between the verb and the complement of state. To create the negative form, “不” should be put before the complement of state.

SubjectPredicate
(V)OV“得”AdvAdj
早。
好。
上海发展快不快?
他们(说)普通话怎么样?
老师(教)语法快。

Notes:

(1) A complement formed by an adjective is usually preceded by “很”. This is similar to the case in which the adjective is used as a predicate. For example: “来得很早”, “说得很快”.

(2) The focus of a sentence containing a complement of state is centered on the complement. Therefore, both its question form and related answer form are usually made from variations on the complement. Its negative form is made by negating the complement rather than by placing “不” before the verb. Hence, it is incorrect to say “他不来得很早。”

(3) In this kind of sentence, the elliptical form can be used to answer a question. For example:

Question 他汉语说得很流利吗?

Answer 他汉语说得很流利。/ 说得很流利。/ 很流利。

April 14, 2011

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