I have encountered a pretty cool area of research of translating between Chinese and English back and forth, and found documents like A cognitive approach to multi-verb constructions in Mandarin Chinese, which has this list (unfortunately with no English meanings):

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Then there is The Linguistic Encoding of Motion Events in Chinese, which has stuff like this:

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A serialized verb might look like this:

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Are there any large lists/collections of serialized verb constructs and their literal breakdown? I haven't been able to find any.

1 Answer 1


Your first table is really an amalgamate of various different constructions. If you define a "serialized verb" as any pair of verbs that frequently appear together in a single sentence, then there's probably no single resource that collects all of them.

The constructions in your first table can be roughly classified as: (I am using terminology usually used in grammar works by Chinese grammarians)


This includes 使产生 (shi chansheng), 使具有 (shi juyou), 使发生 (shi fasheng) in your table. The general usage pattern is V + NP + VP, where NP is the object of V, but NP + VP also forms a clause.

现代汉语描写语法 p. 464-466 classifies verbs which can go into V into three types:

  1. Variants of "make someone do something": 使, 让, 催, 逼, 派, 委托, 请求, 乞求, 委托, 嘱咐, 提醒, 通知, 教导, 培养, 训练, 鼓励, 动员, 组织, 带领, 引导, 帮助, etc. There is almost no restriction on VP as long as the sentence makes sense.
  2. Verbs for addressing someone, giving someone a title: 称, 叫, 认, 封, etc. VP is usually 为/做 + a title, as in 封他为将军, 认他做干爹.
  3. Existential verbs: 有 (as in 这里有个人在跑步) and a few others that semantically expresses existence.


This includes 去买 (qu mai), 去看 (qu kan), 去做 (qu zuo), 去找 (qu zhao), as well as 笑道, 笑说, 笑问 in your table. The general form is VP1 + VP2 where VP1 and VP2 have relatively independent meaning.

连动 structure is extremely prevalent in Chinese and 现代汉语描写语法 only gives an incomplete classification in p. 461-462. There is very little constraint on VP2. Some important categories are:

  1. VP1 describes a state, using verb + complement or verb + 着 structure, such as 我站在这里看风景, 他看了一眼就走了, 她笑着说 (笑着说 can be abbreviated to 笑说, and 笑道, 笑问 are analogous).
  2. VP1 is 来, 去 or their variants (起来, 上去, 进来, 过去, etc.) and VP2 describes an action.
  3. VP1 describes taking some vehicle and the verb in VP2 is 来, 去, 到, etc., as in 我们坐火车去上海, 他骑自行车去买菜, etc.
  4. VP1 and VP2 describe actions in succession.


This corresponds to the "verb + path satellite" structure in the second figure. Most grammar works consider the "path satellite" a complement of the verb, we call it 趋向补语. There are many such constructions. A good reference on this is 现代汉语八百词. It gives a table of the following kind for each common verb:



This refers to verbs which take verb phrase or clauses as object. It includes 需要有 (xuyao you) and 想成为 (xiang chengwei) in your table. A rough classification of such verbs is given in 现代汉语描写语法 p. 457-460.

  1. Verbs which involve considering some action: 要, 想, 敢, 喜欢, 觉得, 打算, 研究, 提倡, 承认, 害怕, etc.
  2. Verbs which involve perceiving some action: 看 (as in 看下棋), 听 (as in 听唱歌), etc.
  3. Verbs which take question clauses as object: 比较 (as in 比较哪一个产品更好), 判断, 鉴别, 审查, 测量, 弄清, 计算, 询问, 责备, 反映, 汇报, 登记, 描写, and many many others.

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