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néng
av. can, be able to
Discussion of 能
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In this entry, 能 is an auxiliary verb expressing two aspects of meanings: 1) ability, 2) possibility.

- 能 indicates that the ability reaches a certain degree, level or proficiency
E.g. 他会游泳,而且一次能游五千多米。 He knows how to swim, and he can swim 5000 meters nonstop.

- 能 indicates an ability that has been recovered.
E.g. 他感冒好了,能游泳了。He has recovered from a cold, he can swim now.

- 能 indicates a objective possibility, provided by circumstances or reason.
E.g. 我今天有一个考试,所以不能去看电影了。I have an exam today, so I cannot go to the movie.

能 is always compared with 会. Please also take a look at our notes on 会 (hui4).
lisaC
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