(source: Keyi – Daily Mandarin Lesson)
Asking and Giving Permission
By Qiu Gui Su, About.com Guide
There are several ways to say “able to” in Mandarin Chinese, depending on whether the meaning is a skill, ability, or permission.
Kěyǐ is used when asking permission, or when suggesting an alternate solution or method. It is also used to say “OK.”
Kěyǐ is made up of two characters: 可以. The first character 可 (
kě) means “can,” or “may” and the second character 以 (
yǐ) means “according to.”
Examples of Keyi
- Lǎoshī, wǒ xiànzài kěyǐ zǒu ma?
- 老師, 我現在可以走嗎?
- 老师, 我现在可以走吗?
- Teacher, may I leave now?
- Wǒmen bù kěyǐ jiǎng.
- We are not allowed to speak.