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I've been taught that ‘得’ can be used in situations such as, “我打篮球打得很好”, to describe the "degree" that the action has. But I've also been told that ‘得’ only works with single character verbs-- so rather than saying, “我游泳得很快”, I would say, “我游得很快”, instead.

This is all fine and well for verbs like ‘游泳’ which can be replaced by ‘游’ but for other verbs whose individual characters don't mean anything on their own, I'm not sure what to do.

I am unable to say, "I travel very fast," because I can't say “我旅行得很快”. What is the solution to this?

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    打球:V+O so 我打篮球打得很好 is similar to complement of quantity or duration constructions with objects which have discussed repeatedly at this site,who says‘得’ only works with single character verbs?, e.g. feed "旅行得" to jukuu and find examples: 旅行得太多了,旅行得很远, also "travel fast" in English seems to be used more often for objects than people, e.g. 1. How fast can the cars travel around the curve? 汽车能够以多快的速率驶过这弯道?(jukuu) – user6065 Mar 14 '17 at 3:43
  • for i am a chinese, i think i only use "的" is ok,the grammar is strange, for i learn english , i also need learn many grammars, in fact, i wanna speak english fluently,but i do not how to remember every word prononces,can you tell me some skills for it – hao.li Mar 16 '17 at 6:27
  • @user6065 I am personally unsure if it is incorrect, but my mandarin instructor says that 我旅行得很快 does not make any sense. – N.D.H. Mar 16 '17 at 20:06
  • could mandarin instructor cite e.g. online documents in support of their (instead of her/his) claim, what about the quoted examples in jukuu, could m.i. explain why 旅行得太多了,旅行得很远 are OK but 旅行得很快 is not, maybe "I travel very fast" sounds odd in English too, anyhow there are other ways of saying it, how about 我旅行速度很快, in jukuu find many examples with "速度很快" s. jukuu.com/search.php?q=+%E9%80%9F%E5%BA%A6+%E5%BE%88%E5%BF%AB – user6065 Mar 16 '17 at 21:19
  • in jukuu also find examples with 2-character verbs followed by 得很快,although it seems when there is a choice, 1-character verbs are preferred, e.g. jukuu has one example with 学习得很快, but many more with 学得很快 – user6065 Mar 16 '17 at 22:36
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I would say that "A得B"(述语+补语) form does not add constraint on the number of characters of either A or B. But if encountering a choice between "学得快" and "学习得快" in oral language, most native speakers would select the former one since it's shorter, although both of them are correct from the view of grammar.

For the case of "旅行得很快", I don't think it's incorrect in grammar. If you have a reasonable context, it can also appear in oral language, although people would prefer saying "旅游" or "玩" to "旅行" (which sound too formal, like written language). Since people would not often talking about how fast their travelling is, many people may think this odd.

Moreover, although "学" and "学习" can be used as both noun and verb. In most cases orally, "学" uses as verb and "学习" as noun.

Some more examples of "A得B" form with more than one character in A:

  • 这个项目计划得很周密

    This project plans thoroughly.

  • 高兴得眼泪都流出来了

    He is happy into tears.

  • 这首歌要好听得多

    This song is much better.

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Generally speaking, you can use the construction with two-syllable verbs. One example:

他把街道打掃的乾乾淨淨。 He cleaned the street (until it was clean)

The sentence "我旅行得很快" sounds off for two reasons - one, the verb 旅行 is not something you would normally do "fast", and two, generally speaking, the 得 construction is mostly used in the following situations:

When there is an object before the modified verb:

他(彈)鋼琴彈得好。 He plays piano well.

When the predicate is an adjective-verb:

這房間吵得讓我睡不著。 This room is so loud that I can not sleep.

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得:used after verb or adjective to show "degree", and we usually one only 1 word before 得.

For example," I travel very fast", we usually say"我走得很快" if you have to use得. "我的旅程很快就完成了" is more approachable saying.

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adverb + 地 + verb:
轻轻地走 - walk lightly

verb + 得 + adjective:
跑得快 - run fast
干得好 - do well

You can see that you must use verb before 得. e.g.
得好 - play well
打篮球 is not a verb, it is make up with 打(as a verb) + 篮球(object, as a noun) = play + basketball.
得很快 - swim fast
游 (as a verb) - swim, 游泳 (as a noun) - swim.
旅行得很远 - travel far
旅行 is not only a verb but also a noun, both means "travel" here.

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“得”前面一般为动词,后面一般为形容词或者程度副词,用于修饰前面的动词

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I'd say, 我旅行走得很快. (Not necessarily by walking)

Similarly, 我游泳游得很快 is also good Chinese.

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