II. The structure and features of the potential complement

 

 

 

Positive form

 

 

predicate verb + de + verb/stative verb

zuòdewán做得完 can finish doing ...

 

 

Negative form

 

 

predicate verb + + verb/stative verb

zuòwán做不完can’t finish doing ...

 

 

Maquestion form

 

predicate verb + de + verb/stative verb + ma?

zuòdewán ma? 做得完吗?can finish doing?

 

 

Choice-type question form

 

predicate verb + de + verb/stative verb + predicate verb + + verb/stative verb

zuòdewán zuòwán? 得完做不完can finish doing?

 

1. The negative form uses to replace de.

2. Potential complements do not take le, because they express possibility, not an accomplished fact or completion of an action.

3. Potential complements are not used in -Sentences because -sentences focus on result, not possibility.

4. The positive form and the ma-question form can use néngbefore the predicate verb. It does not change the meaning of the sentence.

5. Potential complements cannot be modified by adverbs such as hěn, fēicháng非常, etc.

 

Before you move on, study some examples of these forms in complete sentences.

 

1. Positive form

 

 

1.1       Jīntiān de gōngzuò duō, liǎng diǎn yǐqián yídìng gàndewán. 

  今天的工作不多,两点以前一定干得完。

  There is not much work today. We can definitely finish it before two o’clock.

 

 

1.2       Zhèi zhāng zhuōzi zhòng, ge rén bāndedòng. 

  这张桌子不重,我一个人搬得动。

  This table is not heavy. I can move it by myself.

 

 

1.3       yòng kāi dēng, kàndeqīngchu. 

  不用开灯,我看得清楚。

  No need to turn on the light. I can see clearly.

 

 

1.4       zhème yònggōng, yídìng kǎodeshàng dàxué. 

  他这么用功,一定考得上大学。

  He’s so hardworking. He will definitely be able to pass the college entrance exam.

 

2. Negative form

 

 

2.1       Zhèixiē Hànzì zhēn nán xiě, zǒngshì xiěbùhǎo. 

  这些汉字真难写,我总是写不好。

  These characters are really hard to write. I can never write them well.

 

 

2.2       -de Yīngwén shū zhǎobúdào le. 

  我的英文书找不到了。

  I can’t find my English book any more.

 

 

2.3       -le chá jiù shuìbùzháo jiào le. 

  喝了茶我就睡不着觉了。

  After drinking tea, I won’t be able to fall asleep.

 

 

2.4       Shuōbúduì kěyǐ zài shuō biàn. 

  说不对可以再说一边。

  If you can’t say it correctly, you may say it again.

 

3. Ma question form

 

 

3.1       tiān xué liù ge Hànzì, dezhù ma? 

  一天学六个汉字,你记得住吗?

  You study six characters a day. Can you remember them?

 

 

3.2       shuō de zhème kuài, tīngdedǒng ma? 

  他说得这么快,你听得懂吗?

  He speaks so fast. Can you understand?

 

 

3.3       Zuòzài hòubiānr de tóngxué kàndeqīngchu ma? 

  坐在后边儿的同学看得清楚吗?

  Can students sitting in the back see clearly?

 

 

3.4       ge rén chīdeliǎo zhème duō fàn ma? 

  你一个人吃得了这么多饭吗?

  Can you alone eat so much food?

 

4. Choice-type question form

 

 

4.1       Shān hěn gāo, shàngdeqù shàngbúqù? 

  山很高,你上得去上不去?

  The mountain is high. Can you climb it?

 

 

4.2       míngtiān láideliǎo láibùliǎo? 

  你明天来得了来不了?

  Can you come tomorrow?

 

 

4.3       pǎodekuài pǎobúkuài? 

  他跑得快跑不快?

  Can he run fast?

 

 

4.4       Zhèi jiān jiàoshì zuòdexià zuòbúxià èrshí ge rén? 

  这间教室坐得下坐不下二十个人?

  Can this classroom seat twenty people?

 

5. used with néng

 

 

5.1       Zhème duō gōngzuò néng gàndewán ma? 

            这么多工作你能干得完吗?

            Can you finish so much work?

 

 

5.2       néng tīngdedǒng shōuyīnjīli de Zhōngwén jiémù. 

            我能听得懂收音机里的中文节目。

            I can understand the Chinese programs on the radio.