What does 出来 mean in this sentence?


Doesn't 出来 mean "come out of ..."?

  • 看不出来 in Chinese is used as a phrase. It means it does not look like.
    – einverne
    Jun 7, 2014 at 12:36
  • 1
    I would say 真看不出你是外国人 is more common.
    – Kiddy
    Jun 9, 2014 at 14:36
  • Just my personal take. A term with the similar motion and dynamic in English would be "make out sth". "I can't make out what's happening inside". 出來 is similar to "make out" with the motion and dynamic. Jun 23, 2020 at 13:44

6 Answers 6


看出来 is idiom for "appear to"

so 看不出来 means "appear not to be"


"真看不出来你是外国人?" means that you don't look like foreigners.
It is better to use "真看不出你是外国人。"
If translated directly,
看不出can't tell




(after a verb, indicates coming out, completion of an action, or ability to discern or detect)


... out (verb complement indicating achievement or completion of a task, e.g., 打出來/打出来 dǎ chūlai "type out", "hammer out [sth on a typewriter or word processor]")

I think KEYs definition here is particularly helpful if we use this to look at: 看+出来 we have see+out which is the same as 'make out'

A Chinese-English Dictionary

1 (used after a verb, indicating motion out towards the speaker) 2 (used after a verb, indicating the completion of an action) 3 (used after a verb, indicating revealing, detecting, etc.)


表由隐蔽到显露 [used after a verb indicating revealing]

出来 has a lot of uses but the general idea is, exactly like the word indicates, coming out.


I'd translate the phrase 看不出来 as 'can't tell' or 'can't make out', as in 'I can't make out what that says', if there's a sign and you can see the sign (the 看 bit) but not what is written on it (the reading sense of 看 plus 不出来, a negative resultative complement to say that it is not being revealed). In the original sentence you give, it would be best translated into English as 'You really can't tell (or I really couldn't tell) that you're (or you were) foreign.'


It means "cannot tell..."

Here in this sentence, 看不出来 should be comprehended together. 看不出来 equals to 看不出.


我看不出来 = I can't seem to make sth. out (visually)

For example: if it's raining or not; if it's a dog or a cat; if he is Japanese or Korean.

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