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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).
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