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I‘m currently learning how to form the complement of result and what are the translations of some common compound verbs. My book makes this examples: • 看完=to finish watching • 写好=to finish writing • 吃好=to finish eating(with satisfaction) • 学好=to finish studying

My question is: why does it use 完 just in the first example and 好 in all the others if the meaning it‘s always "to finish doing smth"?

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完 is a verb complement, while 好 is a completion suffix. They are not identical, and cannot be used interchangeably.

Trivially, 看好 means either look after (kānhǎo), or looking forward to something better (kànhǎo). Here it would be unwise to use 好 as a completion marker, so we always use 看完.

Likewise, 学好 means learn well rather than finish learning (do you ever finish learning, or is it a continuous process throughout life?). 读完 would be more appropriate here.

完 is a more unambiguous particle for expressing completion, while 好 is much more versatile. 完 is also more formal, while 好 is more common in vernacular speech.

  • Can you tell us more about the difference between "complement" and "completion suffix"? – Jens Jensen Sep 5 '14 at 8:27
  • 完 is a verb, 好 is not. 好 is in this context like 了, while 完 is used in regular verb stacking (吃完, 看到, 听见) to indicate a result. – user4452 Sep 5 '14 at 20:29
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完 means finish,and 好 means with a happy ending. Like 吃完 means just eat up, 吃好 means eat good, but may not eat up

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grammars usually list a number greater than two of 结果补语, taking 外国人实用汉语语法 as an example 动词: 完,见,开,住,着(zhao2),在,到,给; 形容词: 对,错,好,清楚,干净惯,大。 Usually more than one are possible, different choices give different (shades of) meaning(s)。It would seem that in case of the 4 verbs 看,写,吃,学 both 完 and 好 are possible, the English translation need not be restricted to "finish"。 regarding Answer 2, as quoted above A Practical Chinese Grammar For Foreigners p.292 distinguishes between verb-complement of result phrases in which the complements are verbs ( 完,见,开,住,着(zhao2),在,到,给) and verb-complement of result phrases in which the complements are adjectives (对,错,好,清楚,干净惯,大). (The term suffix seems to be somewhat unexpected). Verbs with complements of result can have objects (in which case any difference between 完 and 好 sometimes becomes less obvious),e.g. 看完(见,好)某东西,写好(完)一封信,吃好(完)早餐(iciba:那天恰逢我的生日,吃完早餐后全体工作人员为我唱了一首小夜曲),学好(完)某课本(iciba:这是门两个学期学完的必修课)。Of course instead of above examples it may be better to use "把"-sentences,e。g。把某事物看完(好),把给妈妈的封信写好(完),把汉语语发课本学(习)好(完)(these phrases could be ended by adding 了) 好像值得指出的是"好看"这短语有个特殊的意义,请看一下现代汉语词典:看好:(1)(事物)将要出现好的势头:旅游市场的前景~|经济前途~。(2)认为某人或某事物将在竞争或竞赛中占上风:这场比赛,人们~火车头队。

  • Ooh I see... And what else colud these verbs in the examples, associated with 好, mean? I suppose that with 完 it's a almost always "finish", isn‘t it? – Chiara Sep 4 '14 at 19:03
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    You mention that verb-complements with verbs and adjectives are distincitve, yet your examples don't show any distinction. Please don't switch languages while explaining and please use newlines to structure your text. – Jens Jensen Sep 5 '14 at 8:41
  • only wanted to say that grammar books like A Practical Chinese Grammar For Foreigners(ISBN 7-80052-067-6)distinguish between verb-complement of result phrases in which the complements are verbs and verb-complement of result phrases in which the complements are adjectives, "distinguish" is only used in the sense of dividing into different types(categorize,verb vs.adjective).More precisely the indicated text has 2 tables on pp.292-294,with captions(1) Verb-'complement of result' phrases in which the complements are verbs and (2) Verb-'complement phrases in which the complements are adjectives. – user6065 Sep 5 '14 at 12:40

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