What does 到 mean in this sentence :


Does 买到 here serve as a verb-object word? I doubt it though.


「到」(literally to arrive) is a verb complement to show whether an action has or can be completed (“arrived at the finished state”).

Since「到」is not actually necessary in this sentence to express the same meaning, it is easier to demonstrate the meaning of「到」with a complementary sentence:


The proper version of this book can’t be bought there.

X「到」means the action X can be completed, X「不到」means it cannot be completed.

  • 3
    This is sometimes referred to as a Resultative Verb (结果补语词) where 到 is, as you mentioned, the result.
    – Mou某
    Oct 2 '18 at 10:42
  • 1
    Slight inaccuracy at the end: 〔X到〕 means that the result is completed (a resultative complement). Conversely, 〔X得到〕 means that the result can be (but is not necessarily) completed (a potential complement). Oct 3 '18 at 19:36

到 is a result complement. 买到 is the shorthand of 买得到.

Sematically, 买到这本书 means you buy and get the book.

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