Complement "-zhao"


When used as a resultative complement, -着 (zháo) expresses that the action has reached its purpose or has had an outcome. It can also be used as a potential complement, meaning "able to."

Resultative Complement -着


All you have to do is put -着 after the verb. Remember that it should be something that you can reach or achieve. It could be a purpose, or it can be producing an outcome or an influence.

Verb + 着

Remember: that 着 is pronounced "zháo and not "zhe"!


  • 宝宝 刚 Bǎobao gāng shuìzháo.The baby just fell asleep.
  • 你 的 手机 了 吗?Nǐ de shǒujī zhǎozháo le ma?Did you find your cell phone?
  • 超市 关门 了 ,你 要 的 东西 我 没 Chāoshì guānmén le, nǐ yào de dōngxi wǒ méi mǎizháo.The supermarket is closed. I didn't buy things that you need.
  • 我 终于 你 了。Wǒ zhōngyú jiànzháo nǐ le.I have finally met you.
  • 最近 太 忙 了,他 了。Zuìjìn tài máng le, tā lèizháo le.I've been so busy lately, he's tired.

You might be wondering: "why the heck would I use this instead of ?" Hey, excellent question... we like the way you think! But native speakers do use 着 fairly often (especially in the north), so it's something you need to know. Also, 睡着 (shuì zháo), meaning "fall asleep," is an exception in that it is incorrect to say *睡到 to mean "fall asleep."

Potential Complements -得着 and -不着


Verb + 得着 / 不着

When used with 得 or 不, 着 functions as a potential complement, and denotes that one's one's ability is up (or not) to the task in question.


  • 现在 不 着 这样 的 衣服 了。Xiànzài mǎi buzháo zhèyàng de yīfu le.You can't buy such clothes now.
  • 晚上 我 不 着 的 时候 就 看书。Wǎnshang wǒ shuì buzháo de shíhou jiù kànshū.At night when can't get to sleep, I read a book.
  • 我 的 手机 不 着 了。Wǒ de shǒujī zhǎo buzháo le.I can't find my cell phone.
  • 这么 晚 了, 得 着 吗?Zhème wǎn le, mǎi dezháo ma?It's so late already, can we buy it?
  • 我 在 国外 不 着 地道 的 中国 菜 。Wǒ zài guówài chī buzháo dìdao de Zhōngguó cài.Outside of China, I can't get authentic Chinese food.

See also

Sources and further reading