Result complements "-dao" and "-jian"

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.

Verbs with 到 (dào) and 见 (jiàn)


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):

Subj. + Verb + 到 + Obj.

What 到 (dào) 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 (kàn) "to look" is the action of turning your head in a particular direction and focusing your eyes, whereas 看到 (kàndào), "to see," is the result of your brain taking in the visual input. It may sound a little hokey, but it really is possible to "look but not see," and Chinese makes a clear distinction between the action and the result.

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

Subj. + Verb + 见 + Obj.

However, there is a difference. 见 (jiàn) is generally only used after verbs involving one of the senses, like 听 (tīng) and 看 (kàn), whereas 到 (dào) can be attached to a large variety of verbs, which we will discuss at a higher level later.


  • 那 个 帅哥 了 吗 ? kànjiàn nàge shuàigē le ma?
  • 那 个 帅哥 了 吗 ? kàndào nàge shuàigē le ma?Did you see that handsome guy?
  • 了 。 We didn't say what "I" saw; you have to infer it from the context.kànjiàn le.
  • 了 。 kàndào le.I saw it.
  • 了 吗 ? tīngjiàn le ma?
  • 了 吗 ? tīngdào le ma?Did you hear it?

Negative Forms


Subj. + 没 + Verb + 到 / 见 + Obj.

This structure can be negated using 没 (méi) on 没有 (méiyǒu). This is because if there is a result, then it already happened. And you need to use 没 (méi) to negate past events, not 不 (bù).


  • 那 个 帅哥 吗 ? méi kàndào nàge shuàigē ma?
  • 那 个 帅哥 吗 ? méi kànjiàn nàge shuàigē ma?You didn't see that handsome guy?
  • 没有méiyǒu kàndào.
  • 没有We didn't say what "I" didn't see; you have to infer it from the context.méiyǒu kànjiàn.I didn't see it.
  • 吗 ? méi tīngdào ma?
  • 吗 ? méi tīngjiàn ma?You didn't hear it?

See also

Sources and further reading