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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 1Verb + 得 + descriptive complement
Structure 2Verb + Object + Verb + 得 + descriptive complement
Structure 3Object + Verb + 得 + descriptive complement
Structure 4Verb + 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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounVerb; /Clause
Words in sentence佢哋瞓; 得好靜

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbAdjective
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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounVerb; /Clause
Words in sentence佢女朋友喊; 得好傷心

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head女朋友

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbAdjective
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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounVerb; /Clause
Words in sentence講; 得一啲都冇錯

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbAdjective
Words in sentence/一啲; 都冇錯

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounClauseClause
Words in sentence我哋食飯食得好褦裶

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speech/VerbNoun
Words in sentence/

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Verb; /Clause
Words in sentence/食; 得好褦裶

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbAdjective
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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounClauseClause
Words in sentence新同事做嘢做得好俹簁

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speech/VerbNoun
Words in sentence/

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Verb; /Clause
Words in sentence/做; 得好俹簁

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbAdjective
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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounClauseClause
Words in sentence嗰個歌手唱歌唱得好難聽

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speech/VerbNoun
Words in sentence/

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Verb; /Clause
Words in sentence/唱; 得好難聽

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbAdjective
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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounClauseClause
Words in sentence我阿媽煮飯煮得好好味

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speech/VerbNoun
Words in sentence/

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Verb; /Clause
Words in sentence/煮; 得好好味

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbAdjective
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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounClauseClause
Words in sentence嗰個畫家畫畫畫得好靚

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speech/VerbNoun
Words in sentence/

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Verb; /Clause
Words in sentence/畫; 得好靚

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbAdjective
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 structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speechNounAdverbAdjective
Words in sentence講嘢講得好大聲嘅人冇禮貌

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounVerb; /Clause
Words in sentence你啲字寫; 得好樣衰

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier你啲
Head

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbAdjective
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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounVerb; /Clause
Words in sentence嗰間鋪頭啲嘢賣; 得好平

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier嗰間鋪頭啲
Head

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbAdjective
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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounVerb; /Clause
Words in sentence嗰個模型砌; 得好型

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier嗰個
Head模型

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbAdjective
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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounVerb; /Sentence
Words in sentence我哋食; 得啲飯好褦裶

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speechNounAdverbAdjective
Words in sentence啲飯褦裶

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounVerb; /Sentence
Words in sentence工人姐姐清潔; 得屋企好乾淨

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speechNounAdverbAdjective
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 structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounVerb; /Sentence
Words in sentence新同事做; 得啲嘢好俹簁

 

Complement of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speechNounAdverbAdjective
Words in sentence啲嘢俹簁

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
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 structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speechNounAdverbAuxiliary verbClause
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 structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speech/VerbNoun
Words in sentence/嗰啲做得啲嘢好俹簁嘅人

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
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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