U10L4 Descriptive complement(描寫補語)

 

In this Cantonese grammar lesson, descriptive complement(描寫補語)will be introduced.  Descriptive complement(描寫補語)is used to describe the status or the result of the action.  In order to use this complement, 得 [dak1], which does not have any part of speech, has to be attached right after the verb.  There are 4 possible structures for using descriptive complement.  For using an intransitive verb, you can only create the sentence according to structure 1; for using a transitive verb, you can create the sentence in structure 2, 3 or 4.

4 different sentence structures of descriptive complement

Structure 1 Verb + 得 + descriptive complement
Structure 2 Verb + Object + Verb + 得 + descriptive complement
Structure 3 Object + Verb + 得 + descriptive complement
Structure 4 Verb + 得 + Object + descriptive complement

 

No predicative suffix(謂詞詞尾)can be used with descriptive complement, including the clause used as the complement; the aspect of the sentence lies within the context.  This is difficult for learners to grasp in the beginning.

Structure 1

Keoi5 dei6 fan3 dak1 hou2 zing6

佢哋瞓得好靜。

They are sleeping quietly.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Verb; / Clause
Words in sentence 佢哋 瞓; 得 好靜

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech / Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence /

 

Keoi5 neoi5 pang4 jau5 haam3 dak1 hou2 soeng1 sam1

佢女朋友喊得好傷心。

His girlfriend is crying sadly.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Verb; / Clause
Words in sentence 佢女朋友 喊; 得 好傷心

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head 女朋友

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech / Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence / 傷心

 

Nei5 gong2 dak1 jat1 di1 dou1 mou5 co3

你講得一啲都冇錯。

What you said is totally correct.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Verb; / Clause
Words in sentence 講; 得 一啲都冇錯

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech / Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence / 一啲; 都 冇錯

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 講嘢講得好大聲
Head

Structure 2

Ngo5 dei6 sik6 faan6 sik6 dak1 hou2 le5 fei5

我哋食飯食得好褦裶。

We have our meal in a messy manner.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Clause Clause
Words in sentence 我哋 食飯 食得好褦裶

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech / Verb Noun
Words in sentence /

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech / Verb; / Clause
Words in sentence / 食; 得 好褦裶

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech / Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence / 褦裶

 

San1 tung4 si6 zou6 je5 zou6 dak1 hou2 laa2 sai1

新同事做嘢做得好俹簁。

Our new colleague does things slackly.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Clause Clause
Words in sentence 新同事 做嘢 做得好俹簁

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech / Verb Noun
Words in sentence /

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech / Verb; / Clause
Words in sentence / 做; 得 好俹簁

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech / Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence / 俹簁

 

go2 go3 go1 sau2 coeng3 go1 coeng3 dak1 hou2 naan4 teng1

嗰個歌手唱歌唱得好難聽。

That singer sings terribly.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Clause Clause
Words in sentence 嗰個歌手 唱歌 唱得好難聽

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech / Verb Noun
Words in sentence /

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech / Verb; / Clause
Words in sentence / 唱; 得 好難聽

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech / Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence / 難聽

 

ngo5 aa3 maa1 zyu2 faan6 zyu2 dak1 hou2 hou2 mei6

我阿媽煮飯煮得好好味。

My mum cooks deliciously.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Clause Clause
Words in sentence 我阿媽 煮飯 煮得好好味

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech / Verb Noun
Words in sentence /

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech / Verb; / Clause
Words in sentence / 煮; 得 好好味

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech / Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence / 好味

 

go2 go3 waa2 gaa1 waak6 waa2 waak6 dak1 hou2 leng3

嗰個畫家畫畫畫得好靚。

That painter draws beautifully.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Clause Clause
Words in sentence 嗰個畫家 畫畫 畫得好靚

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech / Verb Noun
Words in sentence /

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech / Verb; / Clause
Words in sentence / 畫; 得 好靚

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech / Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence /

 

gong2 je5 gong2 dak1 hou2 daai6 seng1 ge3 jan4 hou2 mou5 lai5 maau6

講嘢講得好大聲嘅人好冇禮貌。

Someone who speak loudly are rude.

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech Noun Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence 講嘢講得好大聲嘅人 冇禮貌

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 講嘢講得好大聲
Head

Structure 3

nei5 di1 zi6 se2 dak1 hou2 joeng2 seoi1

你啲字寫得好樣衰。

Your handwriting is bad.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Verb; / Clause
Words in sentence 你啲字 寫; 得 好樣衰

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 你啲
Head

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech / Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence / 樣衰

 

go2 gaan1 pou1 tau2 di1 je5 maai6 dak1 hou2 peng4

嗰間鋪頭啲嘢賣得好平。

Products in that shop are being sold cheaply.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Verb; / Clause
Words in sentence 嗰間鋪頭啲嘢 賣; 得 好平

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 嗰間鋪頭啲
Head

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech / Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence /

 

go2 go3 mou4 jing4 cai3 dak1 hou2 jing4

嗰個模型砌得好型。

That model has been built awesomely.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Verb; / Clause
Words in sentence 嗰個模型 砌; 得 好型

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 嗰個
Head 模型

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech / Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence /

 

Structure 4

ngo5 dei6 sik6 dak1 di1 faan6 hou2 le5 fei5

我哋食得啲飯好褦裶。

We have our meal in a messy manner.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Verb; / Sentence
Words in sentence 我哋 食; 得 啲飯好褦裶

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech Noun Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence 啲飯 褦裶

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head

 

gung1 jan4 ze4 ze1 cing1 git3 dak1 uk1 kei2 hou2 gon1 zeng6

工人姐姐清潔得屋企好乾淨。

Our maid cleans our home neatly.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Verb; / Sentence
Words in sentence 工人姐姐 清潔; 得 屋企好乾淨

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech Noun Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence 屋企 乾淨

 

san1 tung4 si6 zou6 dak1 di1 je5 hou2 laa2 sai1

新同事做得啲嘢好俹簁。

Our new colleague does things slackly.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-complement
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Complement
Part of speech Noun Verb; / Sentence
Words in sentence 新同事 做; 得 啲嘢好俹簁

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate
Part of speech Noun Adverb Adjective
Words in sentence 啲嘢 俹簁

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head

 

ngo5 dei2 m4 jing3 goi1 ceng2 go2 di1 zou6 dak1 di1 je5 hou2 laa2 sai1 ge3 jan4

我哋唔應該請嗰啲做得啲嘢好俹簁嘅人。

We should not hire those who do things slackly.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Adverb Auxiliary verb Clause
Words in sentence 我哋 應該 請嗰啲做得啲嘢好俹簁嘅人

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech / Verb Noun
Words in sentence / 嗰啲做得啲嘢好俹簁嘅人

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 嗰啲做得啲嘢好俹簁
Head

 

Difference between descriptive complement and resultative complement

Although the structure of descriptive complement(描寫補語)is drastically different with resultative complement(結果補語), the difference on their usage may be vague to learners.  First of all, only resultative complement can be used in an imperative sentence(祈使句).  You cannot make an order or a suggestion with descriptive complement.

fuk1 waa2 waak6 dak1 hou2 leng3

幅畫畫得好靚。(Descriptive complement)

That painting was drawn prettily.

 

Waak6 leng3 fuk1 waa2 aa3!

畫靚幅畫啊!(Resultative complement)

Draw it prettily!

Secondly, descriptive complement can only be used to describe a static state, thus only adjective can be used as the complement.  Meanwhile, for the resultative complement, it can be used to describe both static and dynamic states, thus both adjective and verb can be used as the complement.

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 131-135。

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