Word Structure: Verb-What 述宾式
This is part 2 of an 8-part series exploring all 7 types of Chinese compound word. Click below for the other parts:
We call this type of word the Verb-What category because the first morpheme is always a verb, and the second morpheme indicates what is receiving the action of the verb. They can be verbs, nouns, or adjectives.
吃饭 chīfàn- to eat
Verb: to eat 吃. To eat what? A meal 饭.
抽烟 chōuyān- to smoke cigarettes
Verb: to smoke 抽. To smoke what? Cigarettes 烟.
说话 shuōhuà- to speak (words)
Verb: to speak 说. To speak what? Words 话.
担心 dānxīn- to worry
Verb: to carry or to shoulder 担. To carry or should what? One’s heart 心.
骂人 màrén- to scold
Verb: to scold 骂. To scold what? People 人.
伤心- shāngxīn- to break one’s heart
The first morpheme 伤 means to harm or to hurt. What is being hurt? A heart 心. Thus the meaning of “to break one’s heart” makes perfect sense.
上万 shàngwàn，上山 shàngshān
When used as a verb, 上 means “to go on, to go on top.” The first word here is abstract, but a direct translation would be “to go above 10,000 (万)”. The second is less abstract; it means to go on a mountain 山. The mountain is the morpheme receiving the action.
出名 chūmíng，出国 chūguó，出门 chūmén，出口 chūkǒu，出厂 chūchǎng，出奇 chūqí，出水 chūshuǐ，出土 chūtǔ
All of these examples will illustrate the idea of first explaining that something is “coming out or exiting” (出), and then what is receiving this verb. 出国 means “to leave the country.” 出水 means “to come out of the water,” 出土 means to excavate, or “come out of the soil.” First the verb, then what is receiving the verb.
Verb: Go Under 下. Go under what? The water 水。
有时 yǒushí，过时 guòshí
Verb: To have 有, to go over 过. Have／go over what? Time 时.
Verb: To extinguish 灭. To extinguish what? Fire 火.
Verb: To eliminate or dispel 消. To dispel what? Inflammation or infection 炎
Verb: To call out 点. To call out what? Names 名. (Roll Call)
Verb: to overdue 过. To overdue what? The amount 量.
Verb: To eliminate or dispel 消. To dispel what? The disaster 灾.
Verb: to do 作. To do what? Your school assignment 文.
Verb: to know 知. To know what? Oneself 几. As a Noun: An intimate friend
Verb: to operate 司. Operate what? A machine 机. As a noun: Driver.
Verb: to manage 管. To manage what? A house 家. As a noun: Housekeeper
Verb: to establish 立. To establish what? The summer 夏. As a noun: The Start of Summer
Verb: to protect 护. To protect what? Your knee 膝. As a noun: Kneepad
有钱 yǒuqián- rich
Verb: to have 有. To have what? Money 钱.
有用 yǒuyòng- useful
Verb: to have 有. To have what? Usefulness 用.
丢人 diūrén- embarrassing, be disgraced
Verb: to lose 丢. To lose what? Yourself (person) 人.
Verb: to move (emotionally) 动. Move what? People 人.
Verb: to have 有. To have what? Fame (or a name) 名.
Verb: to be fond of 好. To be fond of what? The strange of interesting 奇. (Curious)
Verb: to annoy 烦. To annoy what? People 人.
Verb: to be located 在. To be located where? Inside 内.
Verb: to have 有. To have what? Power 力.