Using "zhao" as complement

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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

Structure

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

Examples

  • 宝宝 刚 睡 Bǎobǎo gāng shuì zháo.The baby just fell asleep.
  • 你 的 手机 找 了 吗?Nǐ de shǒujī zhǎo zháo le ma?Did you find your cell phone?
  • 超市 关门 了 ,你 要 的 东西 我 没 买 Chāoshì guānmén le, nǐ yào de dōngxī wǒ méi mǎi zháo.The supermarket is closed. I didn't buy things that you need.

Potential Complement

Structure

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."

Examples

  • 晚上 我 睡 不 着 的 时候 就 看书。Wǎnshàng wǒ shuì bù zháo de shíhòu jiù kànshū.Last night, when I wasn't able to get to sleep, I read a book.
  • 我 的 手机 找 不 着 了。Wǒ de shǒujī zhǎo bù zháo le.I wasn't able to find my cell phone.
  • 这么 晚 了,买 得 着 吗?Zhème wǎnle, mǎi dé zháo ma?It's so late already, can you buy it?
  • 我 在 国外 吃 不 着 地道 的 中国 菜 。Wǒ zài guówài chī bù zháo dìdào de Zhōngguó cài.I can't eat authentic Chinese food.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books

HSK5