Result complements "dao" and "jian"

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Level A2
Is similar to
Is used for Expressing result
Keywords ,

Two of the most common result complements in Chinese are 到 (dào) and 见 (jiàn). On this page we're only going to be talking about verbs related to the senses ("see," hear," etc.), and for this usage, the two are interchangeable.

Verb with "到" and "见"

Structure

Result complements are a huge topic in Chinese grammar, but you can approach them in stages. The structure you come across the most is a verb with 到 (dào):

Subject + Verb + 到 + Object

What 到 does is indicate that the outcome of the verb is achieved - what its result is. Without a result complement, the sentence would describe only the action itself. To illustrate, 看 "to look" is the action of turning one's head in a particular direction and focusing one's eyes, whereas 看到," to see," is the result of your brain taking in the visual input.

The complement 见 is very similar to 到, and it is used in the same way:

Subject + Verb + 见 + Object

However, there is a difference. 见 is generally only used after verbs involving sense, like 听 and 看, whereas 到 can be attached to a large variety of verbs (which we will discuss at a higher level on Tricky uses of "dao").

Examples

  • 你 听 了 吗?Did you hear it?
  • 你 听 了 吗?Did you hear it?
  • 你 看 那 个 帅哥 了 吗?Did you see that handsome boy?
  • 你 看 那 个 帅哥 了 吗?Did you see that handsome boy?
  • 我 遇 了 一 个 老 朋友。I met an old friend.
  • 我 遇 了 一 个 老 朋友。I met an old friend.

Negative form

Structure

Subject + 没 + Verb + 到/见 + Object

As in the last sentence, this structure can be negated using 没.

Examples

  • 吗?Did you hear it?
  • Did you hear it?
  • 那 个 帅哥 吗?Did you see that handsome boy?
  • 那 个 帅哥。Did you see that handsome boy?
  • 老 朋友。I didn't meet my old friend.
  • 老 朋友。I didn't meet my old friend.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books