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Level 3 Lesson 17.2 – 这件事其他人理解得了理解不了?

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GRAMMAR: 1. 可能补语 Potential Complements V得了 / V不了; 2. 可能补语 Potential Complements V得下 / V不下

In this HSK 3 video lesson we'll learn about two structures that can be used as 可能补语 (Kěnéng Bǔyǔ ▸ Potential Complements):

  • V得了 / V不了
  • V得下 / V不下

 

GRAMMAR


Grammar 1. 可能补语 V得了 / V不了

Kěnéng Bǔyǔ V得了 / V不了▸ Potential Complements V得了 / V不了

  See also 可能补语 (Kěnéng Bǔyǔ ▸ Potential Complements) V得~ / V不~.

(1) Potential Complements V得了 / V不了

得了 and 不了 can be used as 可能补语 (Kěnéng Bǔyǔ ▸ Potential Complements) after verbs. Verb + 得了 and Verb + 不了 are Verb + Potential Complement structures:

Verb + 得了

Verb + 不了

得了 indicates that it is possible for the action/event to happen judging from either Subjective or Objective conditions 不了 indicates that it is not possible for the action/event to happen judging from either Subjective or Objective conditions
"to have the potential to/can/to be able to" "to not have the potential to/cannot/to be not able to"

For example,

V 得了

V 不了

zuò de liǎo
做得了
to have-the-potential-to be-able-to do
zuò bu liǎo
做不了
to not-have-the-potential-to-be-able-to do
kàn de liǎo
看得了
to have-the-potential-to be-able-to watch
kàn bu liǎo
看不了
to not-have-the-potential-to-be-able-to watch
dǎsǎo de liǎo
打扫得了
to have-the-potential-to be-able-to clean-up
dǎsǎo bu liǎo
打扫不了
to not-have-the-potential-to-be-able-to clean-up
lǐjiě de liǎo
理解得了
to have-the-potential-to be-able-to understand
lǐjiě bu liǎo
理解不了
to not-have-the-potential-to-be-able-to understand

 

If the verbs are also 离合词 (Líhécí ▸ Detachable Compounds), 得了 and 不了 is inserted in-between the two characters and the 离合词 is detached. Also if there is an Object, it is used after 得了 or 不了 - 得了 and 不了 are always used directly right after the verb.

For example,

V + 得了 + Object

V + 不了 + Object

jiàn de liǎo miàn
见得了面
to have-the-potential-to be-able-to meet
jiàn bu liǎo miàn
见不了面
to not-have-the-potential-to-be-able-to meet
bì de liǎo yà
毕得了业
to have-the-potential-to be-able-to gradute
bì bu liǎo yè
毕不了业
to not-have-the-potential-to-be-able-to graduate
shuì de liǎo jiào
睡得了觉
to have-the-potential-to be-able-to sleep
shuì bu liǎo jiào
睡不了觉
to not-have-the-potential-to-be-able-to sleep

 

Below are some example sentences with Potential Complements V得了 / V不了:

  • Chē dēng huài le, wǒ jīntiān kāi bu liǎo chē.
    车灯坏了,我今天开不了车。
    (The) car headlight (is) bad (now), I today do-not-have-the-potential-to-be-able-to drive.
  • Bàba bǎ wǒ jiāo huì le, wǒ xiànzài kāi de liǎo chē le.
    爸爸把我教会了,我现在开得了车了。
    Dad -“disposing of” me- teach-(with the result of me)-knowing-how-to-do (already), I now have-the-potential-to-be-able-to drive.

 

(2) Potential Complements V得了 / V不了 in Yes-No Questions

There are three ways to ask Yes-No Questions with Potential Complements V得了 / V不了:

Zhè jiàn shì qítā rén lǐjiě de liǎo ma?
Zhè jiàn shì qítā rén lǐ bu lǐjiě de liǎo?
Zhè jiàn shì qítā rén lǐjiě de liǎo lǐjiě bu liǎo?
这件事其他人理解得了吗?
这件事其他人理不理解得了?
这件事其他人理解得了理解不了?
This “jian” (of) matter (-) other people have-the-potential-to-be-able-to understand (it)?
This “jian” (of) matter (-) other people have-the-potential-to-be-able-to understand (it) (or) not?
This “jian” (of) matter (-) other people have-the-potential-to-be-able-to understand (it) (or) not?

 

Xīngqītiān zài yīyuàn kàn de liǎo bìng ma?
Xīngqītiān zài yīyuàn kàn bu kàn de liǎo bìng?
Xīngqītiān zài yīyuàn kàn de liǎo kàn bu liǎo bìng?
我星期天在医院看得了病吗?
我星期天在医院看不看得了病?
我星期天在医院看得了病看不了病?
I (on) Sundays (at the) hospital have-the-potential-to-be-able-to check-out-the-sickness?
I (on) Sundays (at the) hospital have-the-potential-to-be-able-to check-out-the-sickness (or) not?
I (on) Sundays (at the) hospital have-the-potential-to-be-able-to check-out-the-sickness (or) not?

 

Grammar 2. 可能补语 V得下 / V不下

Kěnéng Bǔyǔ V得下 / V不下▸ Potential Complements V得下 / V不下

(1) Potential Complements V得了 / V不了

得下 and 不下 is another pair of strutures that can be used as 可能补语 (Kěnéng Bǔyǔ ▸ Potential Complements) after verbs. Verb + 得下 and Verb + 不下 are Verb + Potential Complement structures:

Verb + 得下

Verb + 不下

得下 indicates that a location or container in question has the capacity potential to hold something 不下 indicates that a location or container in question does not have the capacity potential to hold something

For example,

V 得下

V 不下

zuò de xià
坐得下
(something) has-the-capacity-potential-to-be-able-to sit down (the mentioned amount of people)
zuò bu xià
坐不下
(something) does-not-have-the-capacity-potential-to-be-able-to sit down (the mentioned amount of people)
kàn de xià
写得下
(something) has-the-capacity-potential-to-be-able-to write down (the mentioned content)
kàn bu xià
写不下
(something) does-not-have-the-capacity-potential-to-be-able-to write down (the mentioned content)

 

Below are some example sentences with Potential Complements V得下 / V不下:

  • Tā nàme 'è, chī de xià zhème duō dōngxi.
    他那么饿,吃得下这么多东西。
    He (is) that hungry, (and) the-capacity-potential-to-be-able-to eat this much (of) stuff.
  • Wǒ chī bu xià le, nǐ bǎ zhè xiē pútao chī le ba.
    我吃不下了,你把这些葡萄吃了吧。
    I (do) have-the-capacity-potential-to-be-able-to eat (anymore), you “ba” these grapes eat -le -ba.

 

(2) Potential Complements V得下 / V不下 in Yes-No Questions

There are three ways to ask Yes-No Questions with Potential Complements V得了/V不了:

Zhè zhāng chuáng zhème xiǎo, shuì de xià wǒmen liǎng ge rén ma?
Zhè zhāng chuáng zhème xiǎo, shuì bu shuì de xià wǒmen liǎng ge rén?
Zhè zhāng chuáng zhème xiǎo, shuì de xià shuì bu xià wǒmen liǎng ge rén?

这张床这么小,睡得下我们两个人吗?
这张床这么小,睡不睡得下我们两个人?
这张床这么小,睡得下睡不下我们两个人?
This “zhang” (of) bed (is) this small, (does it) have-the-capacity-potential-to-be-able-to sleep us two “ge” (of) people?
This “zhang” (of) bed (is) this small, (does it) have-the-capacity-potential-to-be-able-to sleep us two “ge” (of) people (or not)?
This “zhang” (of) bed (is) this small, (does it) have-the-capacity-potential-to-be-able-to sleep us two “ge” (of) people (or not)?

 

Guǒzhī zhème tián, nǐ hē de xià ma?
Guǒzhī zhème tián, nǐ hē bu hē de xià?
Guǒzhī zhème tián, nǐ hē de xià hē bu xià?

果汁这么甜,你喝得下吗?
果汁这么甜,你喝不喝得下?
果汁这么甜,你喝得下喝不下?
The fruit juice (is) so sweet, (do) you have-the-capacity-potential-to-be-able-to drink (it)?
The fruit juice (is) so sweet, (do) you have-the-capacity-potential-to-be-able-to drink (it or) not?
The fruit juice (is) so sweet, (do) you have-the-capacity-potential-to-be-able-to drink (it or) not?

 

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