Answer to the Exercise on the Difference Between “看(kàn)” and “看到(kàndào)”

Correct Answer: B
In the Chinese language, both “看(kàn)” and “看到(kàndào)” similarly mean “to see” and they can also both be used as verbs and followed by objects. However, they are actually quite different in meaning and usage, and are therefore, not interchangeable.
First of all, “看(kàn)” can be translated directly as “to look” or “to watch.” It emphasizes the action itself as in “看书(kàn shū) reading books,” “看电视(kàn diànshì) watch TV,” “看电影(kàn diànyǐng) watching films,” and “看(kàn) look,” etc.


           Nǐ míngtiān xiǎng gàn shénme?
Lucy:你 明天         想     干   什么?
           What do you want to do tomorrow?

Lǐ Míng: Wǒ xiǎng


shìjiè bēi.

李   明:我     想   

  世界  杯。
Li Ming: I want to watch the World Cup.

Example 2:

Lliú Méi:


! Nà shì shéi?
刘   梅:

!   那  是 谁 ?
Liu Mei: Look! Who is that?

           Shì Fàn Bīngbīng!
Tom:是    范  冰冰!
           It’s Fan Bingbing!

Now, let’s take a look at “看到(kàndào).” This phrase stresses the consequence or result of the action referring to “to see” or “to catch sight of.” A few examples of such are “看到一个人(kàndào yígè rén) to catch sight of a person,” “看到太阳(kàndào tàiyáng) to see the sun,” and so on.


          Liú Jūn, Betty zài jiàoshì lǐ, nǐ néng


tā ma?
Lisa:刘  军,Betty  在  教室  里,你 能    


她 吗?
          Liu Jun, Betty is in the classroom. Can you see her?

Liú Jūn: Dāngrán! Wǒ néng



刘   军:当然!      我   能      


Liu Jun: Of course! I can see her!

Example 2:

nàr,   nǐ kěyǐ


nàzhī gǒu ma?
看    那儿,你 可以 看到    那只    狗  吗 ?
Look there! Can you see that dog?

In our test, both Wang Wei and Andrew stress the consequence of the action, essentially meaning “look and then see,” so the answer is B.
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