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Grammar Notes for lesson 18

Resultative verb phrases

A resultative verb phrase is used to describe the result of an action. It is formed by an action verb and its result, as in 我 吃 完 了 wǒ chī wán le I finished eating. The verb is to eat, the result of the eating is finished, so the resultative verb phrase is eating to a finish. (See lesson 6 and 10)

Word order in Chinese corresponds to the sequence of action.

1. Sentence with a co-verb clause
坐 车 去 学 校 zuò chē qù xuéxiào (I) go to school by car. The action of sitting in a car happens before going to school, so 坐 车 zuò chē is placed before 去 学 校 qù xuéxiào.
2. Sentence with a complement of degree construction
房 间 打 扫 得 干 干 净 净 fángjiān dǎzǎo de gāngānjìngjìng the room [has been cleaned so that it] is spotless. The outcome of the cleaning is that the room is spotless, so 干 干 净 净gāngānjìngjìng  is placed after 打 扫 得 dǎzǎo de.
3. Sentence with an adverbial marker 地 de
他 一 句 一 句 地 说 tā yíjùyíjù de shuō he said it sentence by sentence. Sentence by sentence is the manner in which he said what he had to say, so 一 句 一 句地 yíjùyíjù de is placed before 说 shuō.
4. Sentence with a resultative verb phrase
我 看 懂 了 wǒ kàn dǒng le I have understood it [by reading]. I understood it because I read it first, so 看 kàn should be placed before 懂 dǒng.