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My guess: 极 is a result complement that has been grammaticalized in its -了 form to become a sort of suffix on its own. My reasoning for this guess: it was probably originally a result complement because it is clearly an adjective, as most result complements are. However, unlike most result complements it is almost always used with -了.

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    Note, "Result complements form verbal compounds that behave exactly the same as normal verbs. The compound is formed by a verb plus another verb or an adjective". Can you provide the example(s) in your head for clarity?
    – r13
    Mar 10 at 0:02
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    We use 极了 as a complement after an adjective.
    – T-Pioneer
    Apr 10 at 13:04

1 Answer 1

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极 is an adverb

Example:

  • 效果[极佳],速度[极快],力度[极强] (common form [adv + adj])

  • 速度[快极],力度[强极] (uncommon form [adj + adv])

  • [好极],[惨极],[悶極]

[极了] is [adv + final particle]

Example:

  • 好极了,速度快极了,力度强极了, 情況惨极了,真是悶极了
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    But adverbs don't go after a verb in Chinese, they go before it. If you said were to say "速度极快", then I would agree that 极 is being used as an adverb. But functionally, in its place after the verb, I feel that it is being used as a result complement.
    – Buddy L
    Apr 18 at 13:04
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    But my examples are about adverbs that can be placed before or after an adjective. 强(adj)极(adv) = 极(adv) 强(adj); 快(adj)极(adv)= 极(adv)快(adj). I never mentioned the placement of adv +v
    – Tang Ho
    Apr 18 at 13:32
  • This is an interesting example of a rigid kind of thinking that gets in the way of useful analysis rather than aiding it. By your logic, I can say that "Google" is an English noun, "I will Google it" is a valid sentence, therefore nouns in English can take objects and be put in the future tense. Or, much more usefully (and correctly), I could recognize that the same word can be used as various parts of speech, and its usage is what determines its part of speech, not its form or its dictionary entry. If an adv. in Chinese goes before the verb, anything that goes after the verb is not an adverb.
    – Buddy L
    Jun 14 at 14:14

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