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U10L2 Phase complement(狀態補語)

 

In this Cantonese grammar lesson, phase complement(狀態補語)will be introduced.  Phase complement(狀態補語)is used to represent a few special states achieved by the predicate and it can only be created with the following 4 words.  These words do not have any part of speech and their usages are completely independent.

Phase complementsUsages
着[zoek6]To indicate something enters a state that sustains passively
倒[dou2]To indicate an action has been successfully carried out
起[hei2]To indicate the completion of an action
過[gwo3]To indicate the comparison between the subject and the object

To indicate something enters a state that sustains passively(着)

着[zoek6] can be used to describe that something has entered a state which sustains without the need of further actions.

zek3 gau2 zai2 ji5 ging1 fan3 zoek6 zo2

隻狗仔已經瞓着咗。

That puppy has slept.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateComplementPredicative suffix
Part of speechNounAdverbVerb/Predicative suffix
Words in sentence隻狗仔已經

  

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head狗仔

 

keoi5 hoi1 zoek6 zo2 keoi5 uk1 kei2 di1 dang1

佢開着咗佢屋企啲燈。

He has turned on the light of his home.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speechNounClausePredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence開着佢屋企啲燈

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier佢屋企啲
Head

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Verb/
Words in sentence/

 

ngo5 cam4 maan5 fan3 m4 zoek6

我尋晚瞓唔着。

I could not sleep yesterday.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speechNounNounClause
Words in sentence尋晚瞓唔着

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement adverbialComplement
Part of speech/VerbAdverb/
Words in sentence/

 

To indicate an action has been successfully carried out(倒)

倒[dou2] can be used to indicate an action has been successfully carried out.

aa3 baa4 mei6 zuk1 dou2 zek3 gaak6 zaat2

阿爸未捉倒隻曱甴。

My dad cannot catch the cockroach yet.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speechNounAdverbClauseNoun
Words in sentence阿爸捉倒隻曱甴

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head曱甴

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Verb/
Words in sentence/

 

ngo5 hai2 cong4 haa6 dai2 wan2 dou2 go3 jung6 gwo3 ge3 ngon1 cyun4 tou3

我喺床下底揾倒個用過嘅安全套。

I find a used condom under the bed.

Type of sentence structurePredicative expression in series
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicate 1Object 1Predicate 2Object 2
Part of speechNounPrepositionNounClauseNoun
Words in sentence床下底揾倒個用過嘅安全套

 

Object 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier床下
Head

 

Object 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier個用過
Head安全套

 

Predicate 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Verb/
Words in sentence/

 

Keoi5 wan2 dou2 saam1 maan6 man1 jan4 gung1

佢搵倒三萬蚊人工。

He/She can earn a salary of $30000.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounClauseNoun
Words in sentence搵倒三萬蚊人工

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier三萬蚊
Head人工

 

keoi5 sik1 m4 dou2 neoi5 pang4 jau5

佢識唔倒女朋友。

He has failed to get a girlfriend.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounClauseNoun
Words in sentence識唔倒女朋友

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement AdverbialComplement
Part of speech/VerbAdverb/
Words in sentence/

 

ni1 gaan1 gung1 si1 ceng2 m4 dou2 jan4

呢間公司請唔倒人。

This company has failed to hire new employees.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounClauseNoun
Words in sentence呢間公司請唔倒

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement AdverbialComplement
Part of speech/VerbAdverb/
Words in sentence/

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier呢間
Head公司

 

Ngo5 jyun4 cyun4 teng1 m4 dou2 nei5 tau4 sin1 gong2 ge3 je5

我完全聽唔倒你頭先講嘅嘢。

I cannot hear what you have just said.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speechNounAdverbClauseNoun
Words in sentence完全聽唔倒你頭先講嘅嘢

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier你頭先講
Head

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement AdverbialComplement
Part of speech/VerbAdverb/
Words in sentence/

 

Ngo5 tai2 m4 dou2 je5

我睇唔倒嘢。

I cannot see it.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounClauseNoun
Words in sentence睇唔倒

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement AdverbialComplement
Part of speech/VerbAdverb/
Words in sentence/

 

Ngo5 sik1 m4 dou2 laat6 ge3 sik1 mat6

我食唔倒辣嘅食物。

I cannot eat spicy food.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounClauseNoun
Words in sentence食唔倒辣嘅食物

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head食物

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement AdverbialComplement
Part of speech/VerbAdverb/
Words in sentence/

 

To indicate the completion of an action(起)

起[hei2] can be used to indicate the completion of an action. 

ngo5 mei6 zou6 hei2 fan6 gung1 fo3

我未做起份功課。

I have not completed that homework yet.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speechNounAdverbClauseNoun
Words in sentence做起份功課

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head功課

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Verb/
Words in sentence/

 

ngo5 dei6 zung6 mei6 gon2 hei2 nei5 cam4 jat6 jiu3 ngo5 dei6 zou6 go2 fan6 man4 gin2

我哋重未趕起你尋日要我哋做嗰份文件。

We have not completed the document that you asked us to work on yesterday.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speechNounAdverbClauseNoun
Words in sentence我哋重; 未趕起你尋日要我哋做嗰份文件

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier你尋日要我哋做嗰份
Head文件

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Verb/
Words in sentence/

To indicate the comparison between the subject and the object(過)

過[gwo3] can be used with an adjective(形容詞)to compare the subject and the object of a sentence.  As it has been elaborated in previous lesson, you can refer back to Unit 5 Lesson 5 for more detailed explanation and example sentences.  In this lesson, the contraction of sentences created with 過 will be explained.

naai5 caa4 hou2 jam2 gwo3 gaa1 fe1

奶茶好飲過咖啡。

Milk tea tastes better than coffee.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounClauseNoun
Words in sentence奶茶好飲過咖啡

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Adjective/
Words in sentence/好飲

 

Contraction of sentences created with 過

過[gwo3] can be omitted from a sentence only if the adjective being used as predicate only has one syllable.  For omitting 過, a complement consists of either adjective 多[do1] or 少[siu2] has to be used.

ni1 bou6 din6 daan1 ce1 faai3 go2 bou6 din6 daan1 ce1 hou2 do1

呢部電單車快嗰部電單車好多。

This motorcycle is way faster than that motorcycle.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounClauseClause
Words in sentence呢部電單車快(過)嗰部電單車好多

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbAdjective
Words in sentence/

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speech/ClauseNoun
Words in sentence/快(過)嗰部電單車

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier嗰部
Head電單車

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Adjective/
Words in sentence/(過)

 

ngo5 daai6 keoi5 siu2 siu2

我大佢少少。

I am a little bit older than him.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounClauseAdjective
Words in sentence大(過)佢少少

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicate
Part of speech/Adjective
Words in sentence/少少

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speech/ClauseNoun
Words in sentence/大(過)

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Adjective/
Words in sentence/(過)

 

Reference

  1. 張洪年(2007)。香港粤語語法的研究(增訂版)。香港:中文大學出版社,頁 113-115。

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