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Say It Right Series

grammar : split 起来

Posted by goulnik April 9, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

We know the Verb-起来 (qǐlai) construct, to start doing sth or an upward action. I can't quite remember the mnemonic John once mentioned but here's a few examples : 

 

拿 (ná) to hold/ take拿起来 (ná qǐlai) to pick up
站 (zhàn) to stand 站起来 zhànqǐlai to stand up
想 (xiǎng) to think想起来 (xiǎngqǐlai) to think of something
听 (tīng) to listen; hear听起来 (tīng qǐlai) it sound like
看 (kàn) to see; look at看起来 (kàn qilai) it looks as if

This also works if the verb is a character compound, even an adjective, for instance 

V/adjV/adj+起来
行动 (xíngdòng) to act; take action行动起来 (xíngdòng qǐlai) to go into action
工作 gōngzuò to work工作起来 (gōngzuò qǐlai) to start to work
简单 (jiǎndān) simple简单起来 (jiǎndān qǐlai) to simplify

But in some cases, you need to split the split the compound and weave 起来 in:

 
  
  
  

 

 
V+O

V 起 O 来
板脸 bǎnliǎn v.o. show a poker/straight/stern face板起脸来 bǎnqǐ liǎn lai v.p. put on a poker face
吃饭 chīfàn v.o. eat; have a meal吃起饭来 chīqǐ fàn lai v.p. start to eat
发烧 fāshāo v.o. have a fever/temperature发起烧来 fāqǐ shāo lái r.v. start to have a fever
开炮 kāipào v.o. aim criticism at sb. 开起炮来 kāiqǐ pào lái v.p. start criticizing
抬头 táitóu v.o. raise one's head抬起头来 táiqǐ tóu lái v.p. raise one's head

 The question is to know when it you can/need to do this. I made the mistake in another post with 翻译 (fānyì) to translate which cannot be split, *翻起译来 is incorrect, it must be 翻译起来。

I guess the rule is only a verb-object construct 动宾合词 (dòng-bīn hécí) can be split : V-O => V 起 O 来

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