Chinese grammar: verb + 出来 (chūlái) construction
The verb + 出来 (chūlái) construction is a common pattern in Chinese grammar. It’s useful for adding information to verbs. There are two main usage patterns for the verb + 出来 construction. Learn how to use and understand them with this guide.
Verb + 出来 to express physical movement
The first usage of this pattern is to express physical movement. The characters 出 and 来 are literally “out” and “come”, so this pattern means “come out”. When verb + 出来 is used in this way, it simply expresses that the during the action of the verb, something comes out of something else.
This pattern is fairly easy to use. Simply place 出来 right after the verb, and you’re done.
Here are some examples:
As you can see, in this pattern 出来 expresses the physical movement of one thing out of another.
Verb + 出来 to express a result
The same construction can also be used to express more metaphorical meanings. These include:
- the success of an action
- the completion of an action
- gaining information from an action
In any case, the meaning here is just a metaphorical version of the one above. Something is coming out from the action, but it could be information or some sort of result. Let’s look at some examples to make this clearer:
我能听出来他们的声音。Wǒ néng tīng chūlái tāmen de shēngyīn. I recognize their voices.
To make this structure negative, simply make it 不出来 or 没出来. Some examples:
Another structure for verb + 出来
Note that there is another structure for this pattern. In this alternative structure, the object in the sentence goes between 出 and 来. The structure is:
[verb] 出 [object] 来
Here are some example sentences for this structure:
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