Making Sense of Grammar
0 votes

What is the difference between "他會說中文", "他能說中文", and "他可以說中文"?

asked Jan 2 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (19,380 points)

1 Answer

0 votes

The precise meaning of the sentence 他會說中文 (t¯a hu`ı shu¯o zh¯ongw´en/ He can speak Chinese.) is that he is able to speak Chinese due to deliberate learning.

Although the following sentences look similar to the sentence mentioned above, the message they convey are quite different: 他能說中文 (t¯a n´eng shu¯o zh¯ongw´en/ He can speak Chinese.) indicates his physical ability to speak Chinese, while 他可以說中文 (t¯a k´ey˘ı shu¯o zh¯ongw´en/ He can speak Chinese.) implies that he is able to speak Chinese by possibility through permission.

Reference: Chinese: a linguistic introduction by Chao Fen Sun

answered Jan 2 by admin (19,380 points)
edited Apr 25 by admin
314 questions
324 answers
0 comments
3,264 users