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I just took an EasyMandarin test, and one of the questions is:

飞机票买得___吗?

The possible candidates to fill in the blank is: 了,去,过,and 到.

I picked up 了 but the correct answer was 到.

Now, according to this answer, the difference between 到 and 了 is:

了 and 到/著(着) (zháo) serve different functions in sentences.

了 used after verbs implies a sense of "stopped, finished,completed, or done" on the action.

到 and 著(着) used after verbs indicate the result of the action.

But then why is 到 correct here? It seems to me that the sentence is "Did you purchase a flight ticket?", which is a completed action, so it seems 了 is correct.

Why is 到 the correct answer and what is the meaning of the sentence?


UPDATE

Hmmm... I still don't get it. It seems that 买得到 as a phrase functions as a verb (but 买得了 not). So in this sentence is 得 not considered a degree complement?

  • @user-487 So in this case is 得 not a compliment? – Blaszard Aug 25 '17 at 16:17
  • Adding that 买得到 and 买得着 is exactly the same in the given context. – iBug Aug 26 '17 at 23:54
  • 飞机票买得_了_吗? it is also correct = 飞机票买得_到_吗?, where 了 is pronounced liăo. – Daniel Yeung Aug 30 '17 at 1:15
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"飞机票买得到吗" means "Do I have any chance to get the ticket?" (usually ask when you are not very sure whether if there is any ticket left)

"飞机票买得了吗" means "Can I AFFORD a ticket?" or "Is ticket for sale?" (this sentence is correct in grammar but it is meaningless to ask such a question)

  • Thanks. Could you give me more details about the grammar? Which is a verb? – Blaszard Aug 25 '17 at 16:18
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    @Blaszard, 买 is a verb. 得到 as a phrase means 'getting something' in English. 买得到 as a whole means 'able to get it'. If you fill with 了 '飞机票买得了吗?', it implies you might already know the reason that makes you unable to buy a ticket. For example, the airport closed and there is no tickets being sold, so you can't buy any. Some asks you "你为什么不乘坐飞机呢?"(why don't you take a airplane?) and you might ask back with this "飞机票买得了吗?" The reason why you ask this way is that you know a reason(airport closed) which makes you unable to buy it, but you also unsure if he/she has an updated info (airport reopen) – dan Aug 26 '17 at 12:52
  • Well, "飞机票买得到吗?" conveys the difficulties of getting the ticket. Let's say 5000 people for 1000 tickets, and you might not stand the chance to get any. – dan Aug 26 '17 at 12:58
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你听得到我吗?CAN YOU HEAR ME?
你看得到我吗?CAN YOU SEE ME?
你想得到吗? CAN YOU THINK OF IT?
"VERB+得到" 可以看做一种固定搭配,表示现在的状态

DID YOU PURCHASE A FLIGHT TICKET? 问的是过去的事情,意思是:你买到票了吗?

  • 请问一下: 1. 我买票。 'I sell tickets.' 2. 票买我。 'Tickets sell I.' ?? 为什么没写‘把飞机票买得到吗? – Pedroski Aug 27 '17 at 6:36
  • @Pedroski, 买==buy, 卖==sell; 把... ... means make ... ... 把飞机票买到 is correct and ‘把飞机票买得到’ is a wrong expression. 买到 emphasizes the result, while 买得到 is the ability of getting something. – dan Aug 27 '17 at 8:26
  • 一张飞机票没有办法’买‘东西。 一个人可以’买‘东西。 这样的角度,为什么写’飞机票买‘? ’飞机票‘不能’买‘。 对我来说’飞机票买‘听起来点怪。 – Pedroski Aug 27 '17 at 9:40
  • @Pedroski, 这有点像英语里面的倒装句(inversion). 如果你单独讲‘飞机票买’是有点怪。 但是如果说‘飞机票买得到’或‘买得到飞机票’,听起来就自然了。你可以给买加个主语,‘飞机票我买得到’ 或者 ‘我买得到飞机票’。翻译成英文,tickets I can get vs I can get tickets (I type this in Chinese as you did. let me know if you can't understand.) – dan Aug 27 '17 at 13:05
  • 哈哈!星球大战的尤达:"Powerful you have become Dooku, the dark side I sense in you. " 这样的语序称为'anastrophe'. 这是第一次我看到汉语有这样的。平时汉语用’把‘,比如’把杯子给我吧‘ – Pedroski Aug 27 '17 at 23:15
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'Comments' has some limitations, so I put it as an answer here.

People tend to select 到 at the first glance because '飞机票买得到吗?' is very common. However, 飞机票买得了(liao3)吗?' can also make sense in some circumstances. If it only allows you to choose one as an answer, 到 is better choice.

买 is a verb. 得到 as a phrase means 'getting something' in English. 买得到 as a whole means 'able to get it'. If you fill with 了 '飞机票买得了吗?'(了 here pronounced as 'liao3', not le), it implies you might already know the reason that makes you unable to buy a ticket. For example, the airport closed and there is no tickets being sold, so you can't buy any. Some asks you "你为什么不乘坐飞机呢?"(why don't you take an airplane?) and you might ask back with this "飞机票买得了吗?" The reason why you ask this way is that you know a reason(airport closed) which makes you unable to buy it, but you also unsure if he/she has an updated info (airport reopened).

Well, "飞机票买得到吗?" conveys the idea 'how hard', the difficulties of getting the ticket. When you ask this way, you might already know there is some reason which makes you hard to get any and you also unsure if the people you are asking could overcome the difficulty to finally get it. Let's say 5000 people for 1000 tickets, and you might not stand the chance to get any. if you ask a friend "飞机票买得到吗?", you are checking the possibility of getting a ticket and expecting an advice on how can possibly get one.

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