Asking and Giving Permission


(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 () means “can,” or “may” and the second character () 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.
  • 我們不可以講。
  • 我们不可以讲。
  • We are not allowed to speak.

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