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In a dialogue of a certain Chinese text, after being told the location of the nearest post office, a lost international student asks,

"走得到吗?”

While I've found the meaning online to be something along the lines of "Is it within walking distance?", I'm struggling to parse how the sentence corresponds to that meaning.

Observing,

1) 到 doesn't take the complement particle 得,as far as I'm aware.

2) 得到 most directly means "to obtain", and it doesn't seem like one could "go to obtain (a post office).

I'm not quite sure how to parse the words of this utterance onto their meanings in context.

This is A New China, an Intermediate Reader of Modern Chinese, chapter 4, for reference.

Thanks! 

  • see A to prev. Q (excerpt from 实用现代汉语语法 : chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/17977/… this grammar talks about 3 types of potential complement (可能补语)A,B,C, 走得到 is type A, 在动词结果补语或趋向补语之间插入"得"或"不"可以构成 A 类补语 – user6065 Aug 2 '17 at 20:00
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''(to walk) is the verb

''(arrive/ to) in '走'(to walk to) is the resultative verb particle

Resultative verb particle completes the verb action. in this case- you walk to/ you walk and arrive.

''(able to) in '走到' is the potential particle

There are only two potential particles. They are 得(can) and 不(cannot). You are either potentially can or cannot walk there.

'' in '走得到?' is the final interrogative particle (indicates the phrase is a question)

"走得到吗?" means "can (I) walk to (that place)?"

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1) 到 doesn't take the complement particle 得,as far as I'm aware

得 -

has the meaning of 'can' when used after a verb or an adjective and before a complement; See here

到 -

to arrive at a destination; to reach a destination; to get to; See here

2) 得到 most directly means "to obtain", and it doesn't seem like one could "go to obtain (a post office).

In this sentence the two words are not used as their combined meaning. A more completed sentence would be: 步行(走)可以(得)到达(到)吗?

0

I think the '走' in this phrase means walk. While '得到' do means 'obtain', in this context you could also translate it as 'get' or 'reach'...

I think: '走得到吗?' means '(Can I) get there (the post office) by walking?' instead of 'go to obtain (a post office)'

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