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Result complements

Result complements or one of the most common and useful types of complements. Often the complement is simply an adjective like 好 (hǎo) or a single syllable like 完 (wán). They indicate that an action has led to a certain result and make that result clear to the listener.

Using Adjectives

好 (hǎo) implies that something is done to completion or done well. Forming a result complement with 好 has a very similar meaning to forming one with 完. It expresses that the action has been completed successfully.

错 (cuò) is used to express that an action has been performed incorrectly in some way, resulting in a mistake (错). This pattern covers what is often expressed with the adverb "incorrectly" in English.

Other adjectives commonly used as result complements include: 晚 (wǎn), 饱 (bǎo), 坏 (huài), 清楚 (qīngchu), 明白 (míngbai), 干净 (gānjìng), 破 (pò).

Structure

For the basic structure, you'll almost always see a 了 after the complement:

Subj. + Verb + Adj. + 了 (+ Obj.)

To negate a result complement, use 没 instead of 不:

Subj. + 没 + Verb + Adj. (+ Obj.)

Examples

  • 你 吃 吗 ?Nǐ chī hǎo le ma?Are you done eating?
  • 对不起 ,我 记 时间 。Duìbuqǐ, wǒ jì cuò le shíjiān.Sorry, I remember the time wrong.
  • 你 来 ,我们 已经 关门 了 。Nǐ lái wǎn le, wǒmen yǐjīng guānmén le.You came too late. We're closed already.
  • 他 玩 哥哥 的 玩具 。Tā wán huài le gēge de wánjù.He broke his older brother's toy.
  • méi chī bǎo.I didn't eat enough.
  • 他 还 Tā hái méi xiǎng hǎo.He hasn't thought it through yet.
  • 我们 清楚 ,请 再 说 一遍 。Wǒmen méi tīng qīngchu, qǐng zài shuō yī biàn.We didn't hear it clearly. Please say it again.

When using result complements, it's very common to make the object a topic. This means the object is moved to the beginning of the sentence and the subject is often omitted.

Some examples:

  • 这 个 字 了。Zhège zì xiě cuò le.You wrote this character wrong.
  • 杯子 了 。Bēizi shuāi huài le.The cup is broken.
  • 房间 打扫 干净 了 吗 ?Fángjiān dǎsǎo gānjìng le ma?Is your room all cleaned up?

Using One-Syllable Verbs

Besides adjectives, there are a few single-syllable verbs which an also be used as result complements. Some examples include 到 (dào), 见 (jiàn), 懂 (dǒng), 会 (huì), 走 (zǒu), 掉 (diào). There really aren't a lot of these, which is part of the reason why these words are usually seen as one verb instead of two verbs.

Structure

For the basic structure, you'll often see a 了 after the complement:

Subj. + Verb + [One-syllable Verb] +了 (+ Obj.)

Examples

  • 你们 都 听懂 了 吗 ?Nǐmen dōu tīngdǒng ma?Do you understand all of it?
  • 我 看 了 ,但是 没 看懂Wǒ kàn le, dànshì méi kàndǒng.I read it, but I didn't really understand it.
  • 踩到 了 我 的 脚 。cǎidào le wǒ de jiǎo.You're stepping on my foot.
  • 我 不小心 撞到 了 墙 。Wǒ bù xiǎoxīn zhuàngdào le qiáng.I hit the wall by accident.
  • 我 女儿 学会 了 数数 。Wǒ nǚ'ér xuéhuì le shǔ shù.My daughter has learned how to count numbers.
  • 我 爸爸 还没 学会 用 智能 手机 。Wǒ bàba hái méi xuéhuì yòng zhìnéng shǒujī.My father hasn't learnt how to use a smart phone yet.
  • 老师 拿走 了 我 的 iPad 。Lǎoshī názǒu le wǒ de iPad.The teacher took away my iPad.
  • 小偷 偷走 了 我 的 钱包 。Xiǎotōu tōuzǒu le wǒ de qiánbāo.The thief stole my wallet.
  • 他 不小心 推倒 了 一 个 老人 。Tā bù xiǎoxīn tuīdǎo le yī gè lǎorén.He pushed over an old people by accident.
  • 撞倒 了 我 的 自行车 。zhuàngdǎo le wǒ de zìxíngchē.You knocked over my bike.
  • 扔掉 了 我 的 袜子 ?Shéi rēngdiào le wǒ de wàzi?Who threw away my socks?
  • 卖掉 了 我 的 旧 手机 。màidiào le wǒ de jiù shǒujī.I sold my old cell phone.

Compared with Potential Complement

Result and Potential Complements
Result Complement Aff. Potential Complement Neg. Potential Complement
做 完
听 懂
看 清楚 清楚 清楚
洗 干净 干净 干净

Used in 把 Sentences

You might have noticed that quite a few of the example sentences in this article are 把 sentences. This is because 把 sentences and result complements work particularly well together, as they both deal with the result of an action or the disposal of an object.

Apart from result complements involving perception and psychological verbs, most result compounds work nicely in 把 sentences.

Result complements in 把 sentences
Subject Object RC compound verb
杯子 摔 坏 了
我 的 电脑 修 好 了
小偷 我 的 钱包 偷 走 了
我们 房间 打扫 干净 了

See also

Sources and further reading

Books

Websites