Expressing permission with "keyi"
可以 (kěyǐ) is an auxiliary verb primarily used for expressing permission. It's often translated as "can," but in order to not get it confused with other words, it's best to think of it as "may" to emphasize the permission aspect.
Just put 可以 (kěyǐ) in directly before a verb to create a meaning of "may" (plus the verb). It's the same structure whether it's a statement or a question.
Subj. + 可以 + Verb + Obj.
Use this structure to express permission to do things.
- 我 可以 进来 吗？May I come in?
- 二十 一 岁 以后 可以 喝酒。After you are 21 years old, you may drink alcohol.
- 妈妈，我 可以 出去 玩 吗？Mom, may I go out and play?
- 我们 可以 在 办公室 吃饭 吗？Can we eat in the office?
- 我 可以 在 这里 停车 吗？Can I park here?
Negating 可以 (kěyǐ) Sentences
可以 (kěyǐ) sentences are negated with 不 (bù), which is inserted before 可以 (kěyǐ).
Subj. + 不 + 可以 + Verb + Obj.
- 孩子 不 可以 看 这 个。Children can't watch this.
- 你 现在 不 可以 进去。You can't go in right now.
- 这里 不 可以抽烟。You can't smoke here.
- 我们 都 不 可以 去 。None of us may go.
- 你 不 可以 说 脏话。You can't say swear words.
- Expressing ability or possibility with "neng"
- Comparing "hui" "neng" "keyi"
- Expressing a learned skill with "hui"