1

The following sentence uses 到 as a result complement but I don't understand why it to has 得 before 到。

他们都想得到比现在更多的东西

Any help identifying the grammar on this one would be greatly appreciated.

2

得 = get

The result complement 到 indicate "successfully"

得到 = get/ obtain (successfully)

得 and 到 in '得到' (v + result complement) are tightly bonded. It is treated as an inseparable compound word at the level of words like 獲得 (obtain) or 得以 (able to)

Simply put:

得到 = 獲得 = get/ obtain

2

Possibly off topic, but:

The meaning of 他们都想得到比现在更多的东西 should be considered in context, and could be very different.

#1

尽管他们已经探过整个洞穴,也拿到了不少宝物,但他们/都/想/得到(de2 dao4)/比/现在/更多的/东西
they all want to get more than what they have now.

#2

(see edit) 如果他们知道这些情况,他们/都/想得到(xiang3 de5 dao4)/比/现在/更多的/东西,也就不会妄自行动了。
they can all figure out more than what we currently have thought. grammar reference


Edit

the above answer is posted several days ago and I found I made a mistake messing up “的” and “得”, after reviewing my answer.

In the second case, should be “想的到” in stead of “想得到”。 The word starts from “想到” and adding a 的 in the middle indicates the ability of doing something,so “想的到” means being able to figure out.

3
  • Am I correct that the first interpretation takes 到 as the result complement of 得, while the second takes 得到 as the potential compliment of 想? Oct 27 at 18:39
  • @2ndQuantized In the first case, 得到 is a whole word 想 want / 得到 to get. The second case starts from 想到 figure out and a in the middle indicates the being able to do something, so 想的到 being able to figure out. It is my bad being careless and messed up 得 and 的, I will edit my answer.
    – imkzh
    Oct 28 at 4:23
  • You were correct the first time, the potential compliment de is 得 not 的, see resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/… for example. Oct 29 at 14:40

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