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I look up in youdao and it says meanings of 上 as below :

(1) from the high position looking down: 登上山顶, 爬上河堤

(2) presents the result of the action: 穿上外衣, 没吃上饭

(3) presents the beginning and continuation of the action: 她爱上了草原。or 他拿起一把铲就干上了。

So, How can I know when to use 上 after a verb?

Because after reading the definition, I am still confused: to express 1st meaning, used verbs must show the upward direction of action? is 2nd meaning the same as "完"?

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  1. from the high position looking down

When the verb denotes upward action or direction, and the object denotes 'comparatively high position', '上' means 'up to (successfully)'

Example:

  • 登山顶 - reach the mountain top (登 shows you are attempting to reach the mountain top, but doesn't clearly indicate you have done so successfully)

  • 登(上)山顶 - reach (up to) the mountain top (登上 indicates you not only attempted, but also successfully reached up to the mountain top)

  • 爬河堤 - Climb the river embankment (爬 shows you are attempting to climb an embankment)

  • 爬(上)河堤 - Climb (up to) the river embankment (爬上 indicates you not only attempted, but also successfully climbed up to the embankment)

  1. presents the result of the action:

When the verb denotes 'applying', '上' denotes 'onto successfully'

Example:

  • 穿外衣 - wear jacket (the action 穿 must be applied to a body)

  • 穿(上)外衣 - wear jacket onto (上 shows the verb 穿 is successfully applied onto a body)

  • 寫四個字 - write four words (the action 寫 must be applied to a surface)

  • 寫(上)四個字 - write four words onto (上 shows the verb 寫 is successfully applied on to a surface)

  1. presents the beginning and continuation of the action:

when the verb implies it is an ongoing action

Example:

  • 她爱草原 - she loves grassland (the action love is a continuous action. )

  • 她爱上了草原 - she fell in love with grassland (上 show the beginning of the verb 爱, and the verb 爱 itself is a continuous action)

吃上饭 is not an example for 'verb that indicates successfully apply'. It is an example for 'verb that indicate successfully acquire'

  • 吃饭 - eat meal

  • 吃(上)饭 - (successfully) eat (acquired) meal

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  • wow so detailed. Thank you so much! – Jenny Jun 17 at 3:52

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