Directional Complements
(2,014 words)

When a verb that expresses a directional meaning is placed after another verb, either directly attached or separated by some other element, it is often referred to as a directional complement. According to Liú (1998), eleven simple directional verbs in Chinese can be used as directional complements; they are listed in (1). A sentence is given for illustration in (2).



lái ‘come’


shàng ‘ascend-up’



xià ‘descend-down’

jìn ‘enter-in’  

chū ‘exit-out’




huí ‘return-back’

guò ‘pass-over’ 






kāi ‘open-away’ 

dào ‘arrive-to’





Cite this page
Xiaoguang LI, “Directional Complements”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 21 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015

▲   Back to top   ▲