First of all, does 得 have the same meaning in those examples?

I'm familiar with 得 in other senses like 得到 and 聽得見, but those meanings seem distant.

Is it more related to usage like “我唱得不好”? The main verb seems to have unchanged meaning. Does it make more sense to analyze the words as a main verb and 得 used like the grammar particle here?

Is it just a “filler” syllable to keep the rhythm?

3 Answers 3

  1. can be used as a complement that helps indicate completion or consequence of the action (preceding verb). Its use is traceable to classical Chinese (see 10th entry here):


    By thirteen, an accomplished lute player I had become; In the imperial registry of the first section my name be found. (translation)

    You master something if you learn it to completion. It is easy to appreciate this rule in most of the words you listed: e.g., when you first attempt to recognise () someone, and then you really did, you say 認得. In 免得, consequence is stressed. Others may be more elusive, because is often too grammaticalised, and that modern Chinese has the proclivity of using bisyllabic words (雙音節詞).

  2. in 得到 is itself a verb meaning 'to get'. in 聽得見 is a potential complement. in 跳得高 is a structural particle that is used to precede the adverb. They are different from in point 1.

  3. Why is it important to make the difference? That is because certain V+得s can have different meanings, depending on context. Take 記得 as an example:

    as Sentence Translation
    Structural particle 就這件事,我記得很清楚。 Regarding this matter, I remember very clearly.
    Complement for completion/consequence 我記得這件事。 I recall this matter.

    Notice how the first 記得 precedes an adverb, but how the second precedes a noun.

    In modern Chinese, 我記這件事。 is unidiomatic (bisyllabic proclivity). When you begin to recall something and you did recall it, you say 記得 (indication of completion). Both justify the use of 記得 over .


verbal particle used to express potentiality or to indicate a result or an extent


  • '得'(can/ able to) in '聽得到'(can hear) is a [potential particle]. The other potential particle is '不'(cannot/ unable to) as in '聽不到'(cannot hear) -- there are only two potential particles

  • '得' (to the point of/ result in) in '聽得入神' (listen to the point of being fascinated/ listen and result in being fascinated) or '聽得厭了'(listen to the point of getting tired of it/ listen and result in getting tired of it) is a [verb (result extent) particle] that indicates the result or extent of the verb

As L Parker's answer stated, '得' may function differently in different contexts. In some cases, there has to be enough context for the readers to pinpoint the role of it.

Some examples like 覺得 (feel)、記得 (remember)、顯得(appear)、值得(worth)、懂得(know how to)、免得 (to avoid) are so commonly used, it makes more sense to treat them as compound words


得 in chinese means own, get, achieve. like:

  • 得到
  • 获得
  • 取得

But in most words, is just a modal particle and does not have a real meaning. like:

  • 覺得 (觉得):Think/Suppose/From One's Options.
    • Example: 我觉得你是对的。 I think you are right.
  • 記得(觉得):Remember/In Memory.
    • Example: 我记得你啊,我的老朋友! I remember you my old friend.
  • 顯得(显得):Look like/Seem
    • Example 你显得很年轻。 You look young.
  • 值得:Worthy
    • Example: 你值得我去爱。 You are worthy of all my love.
  • 免得:In case of/So as not to
    • Example: 多带点钱保险些,免得遇到急事。 It would be safer to take more money with you in case of emergency.

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