I have a question about the grammar behind saying what seems like a simple thing, but is proving to be hard for me. "The door is locked." In English it's an expression of state using an adjective.

However, research on  鎖 has not been very fruitful as it is apparently just a noun (actually it can act as a verb, my bad). The most consistent examples of "the door is locked" I have been able to understand from Jukuu have indicated this structure:


First, is this correct? If so, what is the grammatical breakdown? I haven't run across a structure like this before, it doesn't fit a result complement or any other complement structure I know.

It seems like 上 is the verb. Is this the same sense as its use in 上廁所?  I'm also confused by the 了。Is it indicating change? Completion?

  • 1
    It can work as a verb (门锁了没有,门锁好了). Check out these many example sentences May 19, 2017 at 20:27
  • That's funny, I didn't get those when in searched! Thanks! Maybe I had a typo. In any case though, is the sentence in the question also correct?
    – Ajean
    May 19, 2017 at 20:32
  • Dunno dude, I'm not a native speaker. Both "门上了锁" and "门上锁了" have lots of hits on google, but the latter sounds better to me. May 19, 2017 at 20:46
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    門是鎖著的。 門鎖著。 門已上鎖。 門已經鎖了。 門被鎖了。 門被鎖上了。 門鎖了。 門上鎖了。 門鎖好了。
    – SLS
    May 19, 2017 at 23:51
  • @SLS Those are great - I wrote them all down!
    – Ajean
    May 20, 2017 at 0:24

2 Answers 2


‘门上了锁’ is correct.

I think you can best understand '上' here as 'put, set'.

Here there are 16 different definitions for 上: 8,11,13 and 14 approach the meaning here.

门上了锁 door set lock = the door has been locked = the door is locked

If there is a padlock on a door, it is also locked. (padlock is 挂锁)

'门上了锁。' could mean 'There is a padlock on the door.' or 'The door is locked.' or 'The door has been locked.' or even '(someone) put a padlock on the door.' depending on context.

'房门上锁是为了防盗。' was translated: 'The doors were padlocked to prevent theft.'


门锁了。The door is locked. / There is a padlock on the door.

*门(被)锁了上。 【不好】

  • It makes so much sense when you break it down like that. Thanks! 上 is one of those things I'm still getting a good grasp on (plus being able to treat 鎖 as a verb helps).
    – Ajean
    May 20, 2017 at 0:19

[6] [v] fit; install; apply; put on

門 - door(indirect object)

(被)上了 - (is) applied(v)

鎖 - lock (direct object)

"門(被)了鎖" = "door is applied with lock"

It means either a lock is put on the door or the door lock is set to locked state


門 - door(object)

(被)鎖上了 - (is) locked(v)

"門(被)鎖上了" = "door is locked"


門 - door(object)

是 - is (v)

锁著的 - locked (adj)

"門是锁著的" = "door is locked"


锁著的 - locked (adj)

門 - door(n)

"锁著的門" = "locked door"

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