Once I thought that 起来 meant "to begin" but could be used only in situations when something is going up or taken up (just as characters say). But it's not true. There are:

  • 笑起来,
  • 藏起来,
  • 吃起饭来,
  • others.

On the other hand, I wanted to say "I also started to learn English" and I said "我也学习英语起来", but I got corrected. So it made me realise that 起来 can't be used with all verbs probably. So when can I use it to say "to start"?

(Let's omit 看起来,听起来 because they don't mean "begin to look" or "begin to hear").

1 Answer 1


If there is an object, it should be inserted between 起来

我也学习英语起来 --> 我也学习起英语来

[(v) + (起来)] = [(start) + (v)]

e.g. "他忽然笑(起来)" -- "he suddenly start laughing"


[v + (起) + object + (来)] = [(start) + v + object]

e.g. "他学起英语来" -- "He started to learn English"


[(v) + (起来) + statement] = [(upon/ when) + (v) + statement]

e.g. "他笑起来很恐怖" - "He is scary when he laughs"

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