In the following sentence:


I think the bold part uses a degree particle, and there are two components concatenated without any conjugation.

So the sentence structure is

(听得见 + 摸得着) 了

However, I then don't understand what it means. It looks like the sentence means "listening to it feels like seeing it, and... " but then "touching on it feels like touching on it..." which does not make sense.

Also I don't understand the last 了. Is it for meaning the change of a status, right?

So is my grammatical understanding correct? Then what does the bold part mean?


To clarify my point, I understand the verbs here are result complements. I also understand what 听得见 means here (the action 听 results in 见, which is "listening to it results in seeing"). But 摸得着 then does not make sense, as 摸 and 着 seem to mean the same, and so it sounds like the action of touching results in touching...

At least if it is 摸得懂, I understand it. (as the verb before and after the complement means different)...


4 Answers 4



The sentence can be paraphrased as 生命好像可以被听得见、摸得着了. It can be translated to it seems that now life might be heard and touched. The reason why 了 is there is that originally we assume that life is not something that can be heard and touched, but in author's case he feels like he could be able to do so. 了 here denotes now the situation changed(unable -> able).


摸得着 = tangible 听得见 = audible

生命好像听得见摸得着了。=> Life somehow becomes an entity (as being physical, realized)

UPDATE as op edited question

You seems to be concerning very much about the character "着" and after reading your question more closely I start to get the point.

If I understand it correctly, there's a typo in your question, it should be "摸得到", instead of "摸得懂".

So to really answer your question, you can consider the character "着" as a generic result complement, which goes along with many verbs, while "见" and "到" are both more specific result complements, can go along with limited verbs but give move accurate descriptions.

Which means the following combination "听得着" "听得见" "摸得着" "摸得到" are all valid and correct expression.


First (I) experience a speeding up of my heartbeat,
(it) seems there is a little hammer incessantly hammering in my throat.
when I'm not eating,
这种感觉(not this 时)是轻悠悠的,
This kind of feeling is slight,
during meals,
this little hammer moves from my throat to the top of my head,
producing a slight vibration and
causing a small headache.
I don't know why, (but) I feel this is some kind of life experience.
During these moments, life (itself) seems audible, palpable.

Why does Chinese use 了?I think it is mainly for emphasis.


First look at Result complement

Result complements are a kind of verbal complement that appears very frequently in Chinese. Surprisingly enough, they're used to describe the result of a verb.

看 - 看见

看 alone means 'to look'. 看见 includes the result - 'to see'

听 - 听到

听 alone means 'to listen', but 听到 means 'to hear'

Then look at potential particle '得'(can/ able to) and '不'(cannot/ unable to)

there are only two potential particles

  • 看见 = see

  • 看得见 = can see; 看不见 = can't see

  • 听到 = hear

  • 听得到 = can hear; 听不到 = can't hear

[subject] + [verb] + [potential particle] + [result complement]

"我看得见, 听得到" = "I can see and hear"


[object]+ [verb] + [potential particle] + [result complement]

"(object)是听得到摸得着了" = "(object) is hearable and touchable" = "(object) can be heard and touched"

the final particle '了' indicates change of status, meaning 'object' has became hearable and touchable

Which means the object (life) felt "real" (has physical form and makes actual sound)

In "生命好像听得见摸得着了", '生命' is most likely the object, because 'life' can't hear or touch

  • Thanks and yes I know they are result complements. But I don't understand what 摸得着 means here. 摸 is touch, and 着 is also touch, so why do they need complements? I feel simply use 摸 is enough, or if it needs a complement, it should be like 摸得懂, (touching it results in understanding) not 摸得着 which does not make sense in my opinion.
    – Blaszard
    Jun 2, 2018 at 8:48
  • @Blaszard 摸= to touch, but it doesn't state if you actually 'make contact' with the object or not. You can reach out 'to touch 'something and not actually make contact ; 着 (make contact) as a complement indicate the result of 摸(to touch) = you 'touch and make contact' with the object
    – Tang Ho
    Jun 2, 2018 at 9:25
  • 1. 伸手去摸兒子的頭 (reach out to touch his son's head); 2. 伸手一摸, 摸着兒子的頭 ( reach out to touch, and reached his son's head) 3. 摸着兒子的頭說... (caressing his son's head and say... ) ;
    – Tang Ho
    Jun 2, 2018 at 9:39

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