I've learned them in Chinese class, but still a bit confused,

看 means see, but what is the difference between 看到 and 看过?

3 Answers 3


I think it's easier if you think of 看 as look rather than see (e.g. 给我看一下: let me have a look.) It does not mean the verb resulted, because you can also not see (it, anything, etc.): 看不到

Then you can think of 看到 or 看见 as see (as in, you're looking and you can see it. The 到/见 is resultative, you have achieved your goal.) e.g. 我看到你的钥匙在桌子上: I saw your keys on the table.)

看过 is simply that you have looked in the past, like you have read a book previously (我看过那本书)

Another 结果补语 (resultative complement) is 完 (finished looking [reading]) like 我昨晚看完这本书 (Last night I finished reading this book.)

Another example of the 完 resultative complement is in 吃完了 (finished eating.)

You can see how these resultative complements work with other things, too, like 听:

听: to listen (but you might not be hearing anything, you're listening out for something)

听到/听见: to hear (you can actually hear something)

听不到: cannot hear

You can research 结果补语 (resultative complement) for more information (there are many forms.)



see sth at sometime(past, present, future), examples:

I saw the President Obama just now.
you will see sunrise tommorrow.  


have seen sth in the past, examples:

I have seen the 'star trek'.

any question, ask me.


看过•To have seen before

I've seen that movie before. 我看过那个电影了。 Wǒ kànguo nàge diànyǐng le.

看到•to see

I can't see 看不到


拐个弯儿就可以看到村子了。 Guǎi ge wānr jiù kěyǐ kàndào cūnzi le. The village will come into view at the next turn.

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