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I have read the sentence: 你还记得我吗? But I can’t understand the meaning of 得, here. I don’t think it belongs to the rules explained here

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记得 is one word and must be understood as a whole. –  NS.X. Jan 3 '13 at 19:12
What dictionary are you using to look up words? I really like MDGB as it seems it does a very good job of picking the correct word boundaries. –  juckele Jan 3 '13 at 19:59
I'd have to downvote this. The question shows no research effort: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E8%AE%B0%E5%BE%97 –  deutschZuid Jan 3 '13 at 21:56
@JamesJiao as written in the question, I looked up all the rules associated to 得, and tried to match them with the sentence. It just did not occur to me that it could also be part of the word itself. –  qdii Jan 3 '13 at 22:22
@qdii It's kind of a weird case. It's understandable you didn't know (where to look). –  Stumpy Joe Pete Jan 4 '13 at 0:51

5 Answers 5

Very briefly, you should be aware that one additional meaning of 得 (de2) is to obtain.

Examples of this usage include 得到 and 获得.

In this particular instance, I think of 记得 as being 记 + 得, where the 记 means memory, 得 means to obtain, and put together we have: to obtain a memory. Thus, 记得 means to remember.

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This is a good way too. –  John Siu Jan 4 '13 at 4:34
I would point out that 得到 and 获得 are also single words. –  Stumpy Joe Pete Jan 5 '13 at 23:01
@StumpyJoePete Of course: 得 is a Chinese character (汉字); 得到 and 获得 are both single words (单词) containing this character. Will 得 have its own entry in a dictionary? Yes. Do people use it as a verb on its own? Yes, colloquially this happens often, e.g., 期末考试太难了,我得了个'C',悲剧啊! –  user2251 Jan 6 '13 at 10:12
@B.D I usually use "word"= and "character"=. It is of course true that some can be on their own. –  Stumpy Joe Pete Jan 6 '13 at 10:22
Yes, that is the usage I adhered to above. –  user2251 Jan 6 '13 at 10:27

In the example sentence you give, is just part of the word 记得 (= to remember).


Do you still remember me?

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No, this is such a common combination that can be thought as a word. But it is not. –  halfelf Jan 4 '13 at 5:56
It depends on your definition of a word. –  Stumpy Joe Pete Jan 4 '13 at 6:21
@halfelf: Dictionaries consider it as a word. –  BertR Jan 4 '13 at 10:48
Actually I was totally wrong. I also thought about the grammar, because can also be grammar. But in this instance it is actually part of the word to remember. –  erikb85 Jan 27 '13 at 13:02

记得 as a whole:

First I take back my comment saying 记得 is one word, but I keep the part that it should be understood as a whole.

记得 is a 离合词 (cleft word, a.k.a. separable word). Most, if not all, cleft words do appear in dictionary as a word, however in grammar, whether they're words or phrases is still being debated by the professionals. No wonder there's a lot of confusion across the answers and comments.

There are different types of cleft words. 记得 falls into the type 'verb+result', where

  • 记 (to memorize; to remember) is the 'action verb'.
  • 得 (to obtain; 'can remember' in this context) is the 'stative verb as resultative complement'.

Words with the same structure include: 看见, 听懂, 叫醒, etc.

Words with the same structure AND the 'result' word is also '得' include: 认得, 晓得, etc.

As a result, 得 in 记得 has the same meaning as in 得到, which is 'to obtain', although the syntactic roles are very different (in 得到, '得' is the action verb and '到' is the resultative complement). You're right that this usage is not listed in the link you have in the question.

Since we've touched the subject of cleft words, let's explore more about them:


As a 'verb+result' cleft word, 记 and 得 can be infix-ed by a resultative particle to affirm/negate the result, or construct an interrogative pattern. Which means,

  • verb+得+result = affirmative pattern: 看得见, 记得得 (the first 得 is the resultative particle and should be pronounced with neutral tone.)
  • verb+不+result = negative pattern: 看不见, 记不得
  • verb+不/没+verb+result = interrogative pattern: 看没看见, 记不记得

'记得得' is grammatical, but seldom used due to the pronunciation difficulty caused by the repetition of '得'.

Besides these patterns specific to cleft words, they can also apply the common verb pattern of 'word+不/没+word' for interrogative pattern. The meaning is exactly the same as #3 above.

  • word+不/没+word: 看见没看见, 记得不记得

记不得 vs. 不记得:

There is a common confusion between them and some people misuse them as if 记不得 means 'I used to remember but now forgot'; 不记得 means 'I tried to remember but never succeeded'.

Generally, 'verb+不/没+result' means 'cannot do' and '不/没+verb+result' means 'do not do', for example,

  • 看不见 = cannot see (maybe blocked by something)
  • 没看见 = didn't see/haven't seen

However when it comes to 记得, although logically 记不得 means 'I don't have the ability to remember' and 不记得 means 'It's not in my memory', in practice they are both used for the same meaning of 'I don't remember' and are interchangeable. 记不得 is never used to describe someone's poor memorizing ability and you need some other expression for that.

Having said that, there is a difference in the usage, which is in geographical popularity. People from Northern China are more accustomed to say 不记得, while people from Southern China are okay to say both.

得 as in 记得住:

记住 is also a 'verb+result' cleft word. 记得住 is 记住 infix-ed with affirmative particle 得 (pattern 'verb+得+result' for affirmation). Similar examples include 看得见, 跑得快, etc. 记 and 得 happen to be neighbors in this phrase, but it has nothing to do with the cleft word 记得.

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+一百万 This is a great answer! I will point out that from a logical point of view (which may not reflect usage), 不记得 means "I don't remember" while 记不得 means "I can't remember". Not very significant in practical terms. –  Stumpy Joe Pete Jan 26 '13 at 2:01
@StumpyJoePete Point taken and section revised:) –  NS.X. Jul 14 '13 at 0:53

I check the link OP used. It is very close, or actually answered the question.

It is in the B1 category. The site contains many specific long examples, but none with the exact format OP is looking for.

It is very difficult to "explain" or give a translation to . I will try to give a list of example (specific to this usage/format) and hope OP can get a "feel" of it.

用得 Can use
打得 Can fight
记得 Can remember
读得 Can read
写得 Can write
跑得 Can run

in the above usage/combination gives a "sense" of positive/confirmation.

I hope this helps and not being too confusing.

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You're right. This character is used after some verbs to represent having some ability to do sth. zdic.net/zd/zi/ZdicE5ZdicBEZdic97.htm –  halfelf Jan 4 '13 at 5:58
IMHO, it is almost impossible to give a isolated definition of in this and other usage/combination. This is the best I can think of to help OP to get a hang of it. –  John Siu Jan 4 '13 at 6:04
@halfelf That is a good link for by itself. –  John Siu Jan 4 '13 at 6:07
I don't agree with this explanation. All examples you gave are potential complements and for these there should always follow something after the 得. For example you can't use "用得" on its own, but you can say 记得 on its own because it is simply not a potential complement. it is true that 记 can also be used as a potential complement for example as 记得了 or 记不了, but 记得 on its own doesn't have this meaning. –  BertR Jan 4 '13 at 10:55
@BertR I don't meant those should be use on their own, they should be in sentences. I am trying to give out a list or words that is in the same category. –  John Siu Jan 4 '13 at 15:25

I would translate 得 as "able" (for emphasis). So, 你还记得我吗?would mean, "Are you still (able) to remember me?

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