Danny Gallagher
Can't Do 不能 Is 不能 only used when something is forbidden? I read that it means you can't do something, but not because of a lack of ability. For example, 我們不能說漢語。 would mean we're not allowed to speak Chinese, not that we don't know how to. But, can we use 不能 in any other way, like feeling morally obligated to not do something. A: Just cheat! B: No, I can't do that.
Nov 28, 2014 11:01 AM
Answers · 9
That's really an interesting quesion. Actually 不能 indentically means cannot. 我不能说汉语 actually can mean that I am not able to study Chinese because you do not have any knowledge of Chinese according to the context. Also it can mean that you are not allowed to speak Chinese according to the context, however I think that they can both be used as you cannot speaking English per see.
November 28, 2014
Hi Danny, your understanding is totally right! the example is also right! 不能= not allowed to do 不会= not be able to do
November 28, 2014
To express "I can't speak English", 我不会说汉语sounds more natural. If you say我不能说汉语, it would sound a little bit weird though we can still understand you.
November 29, 2014
不会 is exactly what u mean. 我不会说汉语 means i cant speak chinese because of a lack of the ability. 不能 means something is forbidden. for example, 你不能在图书馆里大声喧哗。
November 28, 2014
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Danny Gallagher
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Japanese, Spanish
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, Spanish