Can someone explain how I can translate the second part of the sentence? I don't understand the meaning of 得 and 得起。 Thank you。

1 Answer 1



I was poor [to the point of] I [could] only afford to eat one meal a day

  • The first is placed after an adjective, which means it is a degree/ result particle that indicates [Adj + to the point of + degree/ result]

  • The second is a potential particle. There are only two potential particles. They are "得 (can)" and "不(cannot)"

吃[]起一顿饭 = [can] afford to eat one meal

吃[]起一顿饭 = [cannot] afford to eat one meal

"我穷[得]一天吃[不]起一顿饭。" would mean: "I was poor to the point of couldn't afford to eat one meal a day" (maybe one meal every two day?)

  • Thank you very much. I appreciate your help. I have to more learn.
    – robert
    Feb 17, 2023 at 18:35

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