While perusing an article on allsetlearning.com about complements, I came across an interesting example of an ungrammatical sentence: 回来中国, where the object and complement are both placed after the verb.

The article suggests fixing this by rearranging it into: 回中国来, justifying it by saying "You can't say 回来中国 because 回 is the verb, 来 is the complement, and 中国 is the object. You can't put both a complement and an object after a single verb, but it's OK to put just a 来 or 去 after the object." In this corrected sentence, what is the function of 来?Is this serial verb construction?

In a similar vein, the article also recommends two alternative solutions: doubling the verb -- placing one before the object and one before the complement-- and moving the object to the front of the phrase. To this end, I came up with these two phrases: 回中国回来 and 中国回来。Although I realize the phrasing may be a bit awkward, I was wondering if they were grammatically correct.

Link to article: https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Direction_complement https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Degree_complement

Thank You!

1 Answer 1


Different from other verb complements that you can place directly after the verb and before the object, the verb complement 来 and 去 require the object to be placed between the verb and them,

  • Insert the object between the verb 回 and the verb complement 来 as in '(回)中国(来)' = '(back to) China (here)' connects the object with the verb in Chinese grammar

  • Place the object after both the verb 回 and verb complement 来 as in'(回来)中国' = '(back to here) China' , the verb and the object would become disjointed.

The verb complement that can be placed directly after the verb and before the object here is 到, as in '回(到)中国' = 'back (at) China' not '回(来)中国' = 'back to (here) China'

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