29 Sep 2009
Intermediate students of Chinese will be familiar with the following pattern:
> V + 不起 = can’t afford to V
> V + 得起 = can afford to V
This pattern is most commonly about money, the typical example being 买不起 (can’t afford to buy).
The pattern is fairly productive, so you’ll see it for lots of different verbs (and not always about money), but recently I heard a new one. A friend was saying that she was going to eat at an expensive restaurant, but someone else was getting the bill. She said she ordinarily wouldn’t be able to afford even just her own meal at that restaurant (in China, each person getting her own check is a “system” called AA制), so in this case, she used: AA不起.
Heard any interesting usages lately?