My original thought for this came from trying to say: various kinds of woman can be beautiful.

I got: いろいろな女 は きれいでいられます. As my best guess. I realize rareru or eru can be used for verbs but I don't see a way in my two genki books to do this. I can think of many other examples in English, for example crabs can be blue. Of course a sentence such as some crabs are blue is easy to say in Japanese. All though the truth value of these two sentence is the same so the effectively mean the exact same thing there are statements where this is not the case.

For example magnetic monopoles can exist. This is a completely true statement as far as modern understanding of physics is concerned. However we have never shown that one does exist. So the statement that some magnetic fields are monopoles is not equivalent to the first.

Edit: I also realize one can say "various kinds of beautiful woman exist." However, this also doesn't feel like what I am trying to say.

1 Answer 1


English 'can' has various meanings:

  • Ability: ("is able to do ~", "has an ability to do ~") "Birds can fly."
  • Allowance/Permission: ("is allowed to do ~") "You can enter this library."
  • Possibility: "A bad thing can happen." "Can this be true?" "The secret number can be odd or even."

When you translate 'can' into Japanese, you have to choose the right expression depending on the meaning.

  • Ability: (ら)れる, することができる, する能力がある, ...
  • Allowance/Permission: してもよい, してよい, して構わない, (ら)れる, ...
  • Possibility: かもしれない, しうる/しえる, でありうる, 可能性がある, こともある, ...

Looks like you are trying to translate 'can' in the possibility sense. Your sentence is not about women striving to be beautiful, but about women who may or may not appear beautiful to someone, right? If that's the case, きれいでいられる (="to be able to stay beautiful") is not correct. Instead, you can say something like (あなたにとって)様々なタイプの女性が美人でありうる, 色んな種類の美人が存在しうる, 色々なタイプの女性がきれいに見える可能性がある, etc. (存在する = "exist", 存在しうる = "can exist")

  • Thank you, it will take some time ro read your answer due to the large amount of kanji. However i belive i understand what you are getting at and i belive it answers my question.
    – Faust
    Aug 1, 2019 at 7:34

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