- Last week, we have learnt about the structural particles 得 （ de ） which acts as degree complement. Link here.
- Today we are going to learn the particle 得 with potential complement.
- 得 can be inserted between a verb and its complement to express possibility or capability
Subject + Verb + 得 + Potential Complement
我拿得动。(I can carry it.)
2. 得 + Potential Complements
- The potential complement indicates whether or not something can happen, or someone has the ability to do something. As the name suggests, it’s all about the potential of something.
I can read (and understand) Chinese.
Subject Verb Structural Particle Potential
Sound 我 看 得 懂中文 wǒ kàn de dǒng zhōng wén I read particle understand Chinese
- This sentence is not about whether or not you have read some Chinese, it is about whether you understand it. It describes your ability in general; your potential to read Chinese.
I am able to finish writing it. Subject Adjectvie Structural Particle Potential Complement Sound 我 写 得 完 wǒ xiě de wán I write particle finish
- Only the positive form of the potential complement uses 得. In the negative form, 得 is replaced by 不.
我看不懂中文。 ( I can’t read (and understand) Chinese. )
我写不完。 ( I am not able to finish writing. )
- The ” 得 + Potential Complements ” sentence pattern often matches up with the English structure ‘… able to …’ .
- As exercise, try to make a few sentences with ” 得 + Potential Complement ” sentence structure at comment section.