Lesson 5 -- Grammar  
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Lesson Five   Getting Lost
第五课 找不着北
Words Text One Text Two Grammar Character Exercises Cultural Notes

 
The usage of “了” (li3o)
 
    Originally, “了” ( li3o ) denoted the completion of an action. However, when it is used as a complement to a verb, it indicates the ability or the possibility of an action, with “V.得了” as the affirmative form and “V.不了” as the negative form. For example:
 
    (1) 东西太多了,两个包都装不了
    (2) 如果这些东西你都要带,四个包也装不了
    (3) 那种感觉恐怕我一辈子都忘不了
    (4) 可是那儿的气候我有点儿受不了
    (5) 东西这么多,你一个人拿得了吗?
    (6) 你放心吧,这事我忘不了。   
    (7) 你点了这么多菜,我们只有两个人,肯定吃不了
    (8) 没买到飞机票,走不了了。
 
    The usage of “着”(zh2o)
 
    “着” can follow a verb as a complement, meaning, “to reach the goal / to attain the result”. “得”or“不”can be used between the verb and “着”to indicate the possibility or impossibility of the action. In this usage, “着”is sometimes interchangeable with “到”. For example:
 
    (1) 听说你想买一本汉英词典,买着了吗?
    (2) 我去的时候,车已经开了,我没见着他们。
    (3) 在那儿什么东西都买得着
    (4) 有些东西你带了也用不着
    (5) 我的药呢?刚才还在桌子上,怎么找不着了?
    (6) 我经常找不着北。
    (7) 这是十年前流行的衣服,现在已经买不着了。