Using "zhao" as complement


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

Resultative Complement


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


  • 宝宝 刚 睡 The baby just fell asleep.
  • 你 的 手机 找 了 吗?Did you find your cell phone?
  • 超市 关门 了 ,你 要 的 东西 我 没 买 The supermarket is closed. I didn't buy things that you need.

Potential Complement


Verb + 得 / 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. This is like saying "(verb) able to reach" or “(verb) not able to reach."


  • 晚上 我 睡 不 着 的 时候 就 看书。Last night, when I wasn't able to get to sleep, I read a book.
  • 我 的 手机 找 不 着 了。I wasn't able to find my cell phone.
  • 这么 晚 了,买 得 着 吗?It's so late already, can you buy it?
  • 我 在 国外 吃 不 着 地道 的 中国 菜 。I can't eat authentic Chinese food.

See also

Sources and further reading