State complement

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Also known as: 状态补语 (zhuàngtài bǔyǔ), 情态补语 (qíngtài bǔyǔ) and complement of state.

State complements describe an achieved state of an action. State complements are usually adjective phrases (adverb + adjective) but can take the form of verb phrases, subject-predicate phrases, or other complements. State complements that are adjective phrases often look the same as degree complements and thus are often lumped together with degree complements in textbooks.

Adjective as State Complements

In a state complement phrase, the verb must be followed by 得, and then the complement follows. The most common type of state complement, where the complement is an adjective phrase, is formed by placing the adjective phrase after 得.

Sometimes there is also an adverb before the adjective, such as 很, 非常, 不太, 有点, etc.

Structure

Verb / Adj. + 得 + State Complement

Examples

  • 得 有点 晚She came a little late.
  • 老师 今天 穿 得 非常 漂亮The teacher dressed very nicely today.
  • 孩子们 得 很 开心The kids are having lots of fun.
  • 我 昨天 得 不 太 好I didn't sleep very well yesterday.
  • 哪个 城市 发展 得 最 快Which city has developed most rapidly?

If the verb taking a complement also has an object, you can repeat the verb: once for the object, then once for the complement:

  • 弟弟 作业 得 很 慢My younger brother does his homework very slowly.
  • 篮球 得 非常 好He is very good at basketball.
  • 妈妈 衣服 得 干 不 干净Did mother wash the clothes well [get them clean]?
  • 我们 班 谁 汉语 得 最 流利Who speaks Chinese most fluently in our class?

Verb Phrases as State Complements

Verb phrases (VP), subject-predicate phrases (SP) can also serve as complements of state. As with adjective phrase state complements, they can describe a state that arose from the action of the main verb in the sentence.

Structure

Verb / Adj. + 得 + State Complement

Examples

  • 得 不 想 说话 I was so tired that I didn't want to talk.
  • 我 的 牙 得 我 睡 不 着My teeth aches to the point where I can't sleep.
  • 听到 这个 消息 ,她 激动 得 哭 了 起来Hearing this news, she was excited to point where she started crying.

More Advanced State Complements

Structure

Verb / Adj. + 得 + State Complement

Examples

  • 天气 得 我 只 想 待 在 空调 房 里 The weather is hot to the point where I only want to stay in the room with AC.
  • 地铁 得 有的 人 下 不 去 The metro was crowded to the point where some people couldn't get off.
  • 忘 了 给 女儿 买 生日 礼物He's so busy that he forgot to buy her daughter a birthday present.

References and Further Reading

Books

Websites