1

In the answer to this question, a user who is now inactive says: in most cases, resultative complements are the same as potential complements. The main difference is that you put 得 or 不 between the verb and the complement. This trick can help you eliminate many false positives.

I'm at a loss to find a resultative complement that doesn't pass their test for also being a potential complement. 看得见,烧得开,看不清楚,跑不出来...etc...

Is there really a practical difference between resultative complements and potential complements?

3 Answers 3

1

I guess you misunderstood what Yang Muye wanted to say (and I'm sure she/he could have said it better).

Yang Muye said:

But in most cases, resultative complements are the same as potential complements. The main difference is that you put 得 or 不 between the verb and the complement.

What Yang Muye is not saying

She/He is not saying that resultative complements equal to potential complements. They are different complements with different meaning. A resultative complement is never a potential complement, and viceversa.

What Yang Muye wanted to say

She/He wanted to say that the structures of resultative complements and potential complements are almost the same. To form the potential complement you just need to put 得 or 不 between the verb and the result of the resultative complement.

1

The answer was in line with the explanation provided here, which says: "Potential complements are used to express two types of ability: the ability to achieve an action; and the ability to move something in a certain direction. Most resultative (apart from 错) and directional verb complements can be turned into potential verb complements by putting 得 (affirmative) or 不 (negative) between the verb and its complement."

Other than "错", I think "" is also fitting your interest. http://www.ctcfl.ox.ac.uk/Grammar%20exercises/RVC.htm

1

There are only two potential complements: 得(able) and 不(unable)

It is always placed between a verb and its resultative complement

Example:

看(v) + 到 (resultative complement) = see (succefully)

看(v) + 得 (potential complement) + 到 (resultative complement) = able to see

看(v) + 不 (potential complement) + 到 (resultative complement) = unable to see

There can be many different resultative complements for a verb, but there are only two choices of potential complements

Example:

吃下(eat down)三個面包

吃掉(eat away)三個面包

吃完(eat and finish)三個面包

下,掉 and 完 are all resultative complements of 吃

With potential complements:

吃(得/不)下三個面包 = (Able/unable to) eat down three bread

吃(得/不)掉三個面包 = (Able/unable to) eat away three bread

吃(得/不)完三個面包 = (Able/unable to) eat and finish three bread

吃[得下],吃[得掉],吃[得完], 吃[不下],吃[不掉] and 吃[不完] are Verb + [potential complement] + [resultative complement]

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.