- Also known as: 描写性补语 (miáoxiě-xìng bǔyǔ), 描述性补语 (miáoshù-xìng bǔyǔ) and complement of description.
In this article, we take a look at how we use 得 (de) to help describe an action. It is one of the characters that often gets confused with 的 and 地, since they could be pronounced as a neutral tone "de."
Descriptive complements are used to describe the action of a verb. This would be done with an adverb in English.
Verb / Adj. + 得 + Descriptive complement
- 你 说 得 很 好 。You speak very well.
- 他 做 得 马马 虎虎 。He did it poorly.
- 他们 玩 得 很 开心 。 They had a lot of fun.
- 她 的 文章 写 得 还 不错 。 She writes good essays.
- 孩子们 听 得 很 认真 。 The kids are listening very attentively.
Chinese complements are not an exact science. You may notice that the above uses of descriptive complements overlap a bit with degree complements. Yes, they do. The main difference is that descriptive complements can get way more... descriptive, whereas degree complements are much more concerned with degree. The overlap tends to happen when the complements are extremely simple.
- Using objects with complements
- Adjectival complement "de budeliao"
- Adjectival complement "de hen"
- State complement
- Degree complement
Sources and further reading
- Basic Patterns of Chinese Grammar (pp. 71-2) →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 1, Part 1 (pp. 179-80) →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 1, Part 2 (3rd ed) (pp. 172-3, 291) →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 2, Part 1 (pp. 302-4) →buy
- New Practical Chinese Reader 2 (新实用汉语课本2) (pp. 15-6) →buy
- Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide (pp. 191) →buy
- Boya Chinese Elementary Starter 1 (博雅汉语初经起步篇) (pp. 197) →buy
- Practicing HSK Grammar (语法精讲精炼) (pp. 125) →buy
- Contemporary Chinese 2 (当代中文2) (pp. 63) →buy
- New Practical Chinese Reader 3 (新实用汉语课本3) (pp. 99) →buy