V. When to use the complement of Degree
The complement of degree is used in the following context:
1. When commenting on an action. The comment is usually an assessment or evaluation of the action with a focus on its quality, demeanor, appearance, quantity, time, frequency or duration. It reflects the speaker’s opinion ABOUT the action.
A 1. Tā shuō de
He speaks very clearly.
A 2. Tā pǎo de
tài màn le.
He runs too slowly.
B 1. Tā xué de
bú tài yònggōng.
He does not study so hard.
B 2. Tā shuō de
fēicháng bú kèqi.
He sounded very impolite.
C 1. Wáng xiǎojiě
zhǎng de yòu gāo yòu
Miss Wang is (or: has grown) tall and thin.
C 2. Tā zhǎng de
xiàng tā mǔqīn.
He looks like (has grown to look like) his mother.
D 1. Tā chī de
tài duō le, suǒyǐ hěn pàng.
He eats too much, so he’s fat.
D 2. Tā zuò fàn zuò de bú gòu.
He did not make enough food.
E. Time, Duration and Frequency
E 1. Tā měitiān dōu lái de hěn wǎn.
He comes late every day.
E 2. Wǒmen děng
de tài jiǔ le.
We have waited too long.
E 3. Xǐ tóu
xǐ de tài qín duì tóufa bù hǎo.
Washing one’s hair too often is not good for one’s hair.
2. When describing what state the action has caused someone or something to be in;
2.1 Tā bìng de bù néng lái
shàng bān le.
He is so sick that he can’t come to work.
The purpose of saying ‘he can’t come to work’ is to describe how sick ‘he’ is. The focus of the sentence is still on the verb ‘sick’.
2.2 Tā xiě de shǒu dōu suān
He wrote so much that his hand ached.
The purpose of saying ‘his hand ached’ is to describe how much ‘he’ has written or how long he has been writing. The focus is still on the verb ‘write’.
3. When describing how serious the situation is.
3.1 Tā è de hūnguòqù le.
He was so hungry that he fainted.
‘He fainted’ describes how hungry ‘he’ was. The message that ‘he was hungry’ is still central to the remark.
3.2 Tiānqi lěng de shéi dōu bù
It is so cold that no one wants to go out.
‘No one wants to go out’ is a description of how cold the weather is.