Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone, welcome to Chinese whiteboard lessons. I'm Yinru.
Today we're going to compare two more similar words, they can both mean "can" or "be able to." They are 能(néng) and 会(huì).
So they can be very confusing because the difference between them are actually very subtle.
Before we get into today’s lesson, let's see how you would say this sentence in Chinese - "You cannot watch TV now."
Would you say 你现在不能看电视 (nǐ xiànzài bùnéng kàn diànshì) or 你现在不会看电视 (nǐ xiànzài bù huì kàn diànshì)?
Right! The correct way of saying it, it’s actually 你现在不能看电视 (nǐ xiànzài bùnéng kàn diànshì).
We don't say 你现在不会看电视(nǐ xiànzài bù huì kàn diànshì).
And why is that?
First, 能 (néng). But when you say 能 (néng) you usually mean you can do or cannot do because of circumstances. Let’s look at some examples.
这是个秘密,我不能告诉你 (zhè shì gè mìmì, wǒ bùnéng gàosù nǐ). “This is a secret. I cannot tell you because 这是个秘密 (zhè shì gè mìmì) because this is secret. So I cannot tell you. So this is the circumstance. This is the condition why I cannot tell you 我不能告诉你 (wǒ bùnéng gàosù nǐ).
第二个 (dì èr gè) second one. 我嗓子疼,不能说太多话 (wǒ sǎngzi téng, bùnéng shuō tài duō huà). 我嗓子疼 (wǒ sǎngzi téng), 嗓子 (sǎngzi) is here, throat. Or you can say 喉咙 (hóulóng) it’s also throat. 我嗓子疼 (wǒ sǎngzi téng) My throat hurts. I cannot talk too much. 说太多话 (shuō tài duō huà) is talk too much. I cannot talk too much because my throat hurts. So this is the condition here. That’s why I cannot 我不能说太多话 (wǒ bùnéng shuō tài duō huà).
第三个 (dì sān gè) The third one. 夏天一到,我们就能去游泳啦!(xiàtiān yī dào, wǒmen jiù néng qù yóuyǒng la). 夏天一到 (xiàtiān yī dào) means as soon as summer arrives, as soon as summer is here, we can go swimming. 去游泳 (qù yóuyǒng) go swimming. So we have to wait till summer is here. Then, we can go swimming. And here, notice we used the 啦 (la) at the end of sentence as an exclamation word. We use this word to express excitement or happiness. 我们能去游泳啦 (wǒmen néng qù yóuyǒng la) Yeay, we can go swimming. We are so happy we can go swimming. So we use this to express the happy emotion, all right. This is 能 (néng). On the other hand, when we use 会 (huì) we imply that we can do something through learning. You probably have been saying this or you will be saying this a lot. 我会说一点中文 (wǒ huì shuō yīdiǎn Zhōngwén) I can speak a little bit Chinese. I can speak Chinese because I learned and even though I know a little bit. You have to learn to speak Chinese. So we say, 我会说中文 (wǒ huì shuō Zhōngwén) or 我会说一点中文 (wǒ huì shuō yīdiǎn Zhōngwén).
我还是不会用这个软件 (wǒ háishì bù huì yòng zhè gè ruǎnjiàn). 这个软件 (zhè gè ruǎnjiàn) is, this software. 不会 (bù huì) don’t know how, still don’t know 还是 (háishì) is still. I still don’t know how to use this software. We use 不会 (bù huì) because we don’t know how. We are going to learn how to do it. So we use 不会 (bù huì) or 会 (huì).
The next one. 这个三岁的小姑娘不仅会数数,还会认字 (zhè gè sān suì de xiǎo gūniang bùjǐn huì shǔ shù, hái huì rèn zì). Okay, we have two 会 (huì) here. 不仅会... 还会 (bùjǐn huì... hái huì) Means not only can, but also can. And 数数 (shǔ shù) Well, they look the same. Actually, they are the same characters but they have different pronunciations. 数 (shǔ) is a verb here. It’s a third tone down and up. 数 (shǔ) is to count. It’s a verb. And 数 (shù) is a noun, it means number. To count number 数数 (shǔ shù) to count. And 认字 (rèn zì), 字 (zì) is character, Chinese character and 认 (rèn) is to recognize. So this 认字 (rèn zì) means to read. So this 3-year old girl can not only count but also can read. 不仅会... 还会 (bùjǐn huì... hái huì). 不仅会数数,还会认字 (bùjǐn huì shǔ shù, hái huì rèn zì). So we have to learn it to be able to do something. That’s when we use 会 (huì). And 能 (néng) can be used as an auxiliary verb. It’s just like a modal verb in English and usually it’s used to ask permission such as 你能给我看一下吗? (nǐ néng gěi wǒ kàn yīxià ma) “Can you let me take a look?” 看一下 (kàn yīxià) “Could you show me?” And when you are asking someone to do something, we usually use 能 (néng) or 可以 (kěyǐ) but here 能 (néng) has the same meaning. But we don’t use 会 (huì) here. 你会给我看一下吗? (nǐ huì gěi wǒ kàn yīxià ma) That’s not right because 会 (huì) is not an auxiliary verb like 能 (néng). 我能试一试这双鞋吗?(wǒ néng shì yī shì zhè shuāng xié ma). 试一试 (shì yī shì) to try 试一试 (shì yī shì).
这双鞋 (zhè shuāng xié) This pair of shoes. So notice that we use 双 (shuāng) in front of 鞋 (xié) because there are two shoes and it’s a pair. 这双鞋 (zhè shuāng xié) This pair of shoes. “Can I try this pair of shoes? Can I do something. 我能 (wǒ néng) And we don’t use 我会试一试这双鞋吗?(wǒ huì shì yī shì zhè shuāng xié ma) That’s weird. And third one, 这里不能吸烟 (zhèlǐ bùnéng xīyān) Here cannot smoke or we cannot smoke here. Smoke, smoking is not allowed here. 不能 (bùnéng) Cannot do something 不能 (bùnéng). Even though, we cannot use 会 (huì) in this circumstance or in this condition, but 会 (huì) has something that 能 (néng) cannot do either. So 会 (huì) can be used in future tense meaning “be going to.”
Like 爸爸今晚会回家吃饭吗?(bàba jīn wǎn huì huí jiā chīfàn ma) “Is dad going to be home and eat tonight?”
会回家吃饭 (huì huí jiā chīfàn) “He is going to come home and eat.
会 (huì) means to be going to, here.
Next one. 下个月我们部门的经理会去总部开会 (xià gè yuè wǒmen bùmén de jīnglǐ huì qù zǒngbù kāihuì). Let me translate this. 下个月 (xià gè yuè) Next month 我们部门的经理 (wǒmen bùmén de jīnglǐ), 经理 (jīnglǐ) means manager. 我们部门的 (wǒmen bùmén de) in our department. 去总部开会 (qù zǒngbù kāihuì) go to the headquarters to have a meeting or have a conference. 会去 (huì qù) He is going to have a meeting. That’s the plan. That’s going to happen in the future. So we use 会 (huì) here.
Well, let’s look at another one.
别着急,到时候我会告诉你的 (bié zhāojí, dào shíhòu wǒ huì gàosù nǐ de). 我会告诉你 (wǒ huì gàosù nǐ) I will tell you. 到时候 (dào shíhòu) when it’s time. So no hurry, no rush. When it’s time, when the time comes, I will tell you. So it’s in the future. I am going to tell you. So that’s 会 (huì) used in future tense.
All right. Now, let’s look at some exercises to see if we got this right. First one.
我没听清,你能 (wǒ méi tīng qīng, nǐ néng) or 你会再说一遍吗 (nǐ huì zài shuō yībiàn ma). 我没听清 (wǒ méi tīng qīng) I didn’t hear you clearly. I didn’t hear you well. Can you say it again? It is asking someone if they could do it. So here we use 能 (néng), Will you say it again? Could you please say it again? 能 (néng), 你能再说一遍吗 (nǐ néng zài shuō yībiàn ma). And the second one. 按照这个网站的规定,一天只能还是只会登陆一次 (ànzhào zhè gè wǎngzhàn de guīdìng, yītiān zhǐ néng háishì zhǐ huì dēnglù yīcì). Let me do some translation first. 按照这个网站的规定 (ànzhào zhè gè wǎngzhàn de guīdìng), 按照 (ànzhào) according to, this website 这个网站 (zhè gè wǎngzhàn), 的规定 (de guīdìng) rule. So according to the rule of this website, 一天 (yītiān) one day, and 只 (zhǐ) only, 登陆一次 (dēnglù yīcì) log on once. You can only log on once every day. That’s the rule of this website. So this is the circumstance. So we use 能 (néng). 一天只能登陆一次 (yītiān zhǐ néng dēnglù yīcì).
All right 第三个 (dì sān gè) the third one. 这个字太难了,我还是不会写 (zhè gè zì tài nán le, wǒ háishì bù huì xiě) or 不能写 (bùnéng xiě). You know; this character is too difficult 太难了 (tài nán le) I still don’t know how. I have to learn to write it but I still don’t get it. I don’t know how to write it. 我不会写 (wǒ bù huì xiě).
第四个 (dì sì gè) The fourth one. 他只听了三遍就什么这首歌了 (tā zhǐ tīng le sān biàn jiù shénme zhè shǒu gē le). 只听了三遍 (zhǐ tīng le sān biàn) Only heard it three times. Then he can sing it. You know, after you hear it, then you can sing it, you kind of learn it. So it’s 会 (huì). 他只听了三遍就会唱这首歌了 (tā zhǐ tīng le sān biàn jiù huì chàng zhè shǒu gē le).
And the last one, 明天什么下雨,我们不什么去踢足球了 (míngtiān shénme xià yǔ, wǒmen bù shénme qù tī zúqiú le). 足球 (zúqiú) is soccer ball and 踢足球 (tī zúqiú), 踢 (tī) is to kick. So when you want to say, play soccer, in Chinese, we say 踢足球 (tī zúqiú) or 踢球 (tī qiú). So tomorrow it’s going to rain. So it’s going to here. And we cannot go play soccer because tomorrow is going to rain. It’s the condition. It’s the circumstance. So the first part is 明天会下雨 (míngtiān huì xià yǔ) tomorrow it’s going to rain and that’s why we cannot go play soccer 我们不能去踢足球了 (wǒmen bùnéng qù tī zúqiú le).
So that’s, that’s it. That’s the difference between 能 (néng) and 会 (huì). Did you get it right? Well, I will see you in the next lesson. 我们下期课再见吧 (wǒmen xiàqī kè zàijiàn ba). Bye bye, everyone. 再见 (zàijiàn).

11 Comments

Hide
Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 05:19 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello robert groulx,


Thank you for your comment, we hope you enjoyed the lesson!


If you have any questions, please let us know.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Friday at 10:15 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

thanks for the lesson


my favorite words are 这个字太难了,我还是不会写


robert


ps. i like yanri 😄

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 12:47 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

你好 Mailaya,


谢谢 for posting and studying with us. Great to hear you learnt something new.

If you have any questions, please let us know.😄


Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

Team ChineseClass101.com

Mailaya
Tuesday at 10:03 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

cool to know that!👍😄

ChineseClass101.com
Tuesday at 07:22 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello Tais,


谢谢你!😄 我和你期待继续学习 => 我期待和你一起继续学习。


Keep it up and let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Tais
Monday at 02:43 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

老师, 你好!这个课很容易!You made it so easy, I had learned it before but I kept making mistakes when using it. 我真的喜欢它!谢谢!我和你期待继续学习~ ( I look forward to keep learning with you)

ChineseClass101.com
Sunday at 07:06 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello 学生,


Thank you for your comment, 不客气 you're welcome! 😄


As always, let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

学生
Saturday at 03:21 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

谢谢


ChineseClass101.com
Thursday at 07:21 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello Azhar,


Thank you for your comment, hope you enjoyed this lesson. 😄

Let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Azhar
Wednesday at 06:46 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

你很漂亮