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Can I sit here

You will learn how to make a request by using 能 this modal verb.

New word

坐 zuò sit

能 néng can/ able

Language points

The sentence structure 能……吗?often used to indicate a request of hope for permission.

Here is a situation: 你的朋友有一本汉语书,你想看。What should you say to your friend?

我能看你的汉语书吗? Wǒ néng kàn nǐ de Hànyǔ shū ma?Can I read your Chinese book The sentence structure is 能……吗? Here is a situation: 你的朋友有一本汉语书,你想看。What should you say to your friend? 很好。我能看你的汉语书吗?

Here is another situation: 明天你不上课,想去朋友家。What should you say to your parents? 明天我能去朋友家吗?

The 能……吗?structure is often used to indicate a request of hope for permission.

能 VS 会

We have also learnt another word for can——会。

会 is to describe ability that can be gained from learning.

For example: 你会做中国菜吗?means if you are able to make Chinese food.

你会写汉字吗?means if you have the ability to write Chinese character.

能 indicates an ability or possibility.

明天你能做中国菜吗?doesn’t mean if you have the ability to make Chinese food but if it is possible to make Chinese food tomorrow.

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HSK Standard Course Level 1: 1.2

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