Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange
36

Very simply : 食べることができる I am technically able to eat. I have a mouth, a stomach, and so on. When you ask "can you do this for me" and your witty friend replies "yes, I can" but doesn't do it, that's this meaning of potentiality that he chose to understand. You'd use this form to say "I cannot time travel" or "I cannot fly". You cannot do anything about ...


35

In the が + potential construction, the focus is on the noun. 新聞が読める (what I am able to read is newspapers [as opposed to other written media]) ここで切符が買えますか (is this where tickets [as opposed to other items for sale] can be bought?) In the を + potential construction, the focus is on the entire phrase. 新聞を読める (what I am able to do is read newspapers)...


20

I don't think you can differentiate them without looking at the context. ハンバーガー が・を 食べられる → I can eat hamburgers ハンバーガーを食べられてしまった! → Someone ate my hamburger!! With the passive form, you'll usually see the doer/"culprit", indicated by ~に/~によって (there are some rules about which to use, but that's beyond the scope of this topic): ...


20

What I've read regarding the 見える、見られる and 聞こえる、聞ける doesn't appear to have been mentioned here at all and I think it's probably the clearest explanation. 見える - something comes into view 聞こえる - something can be heard Both of these describe sights/sounds that can be sensed regardless of the speaker's volition, e.g. if you look out the window you can see the ...


15

Can you say "日本語する"? I suppose you can use it idiomatically or somewhat playfully (perhaps akin to something like "I'm Japanese-ing it up"), but it's not a real verb that is used. If the answer is no, how can "日本語できる" be grammatically correct? Without realizing it, you are actually saying "日本語が分かることができます。". 日本語できる is really just dropping the が from ...


13

Yes, ~うる (or ~える) can be thought of as a potential form. It's an auxiliary that expresses "can", and it attaches to the continuative form (連用形) of a verb. That's the same form of the verb you use before the polite auxiliary ~ます, so we get forms like these:   ある   →  ありうる   考える  →  考えうる   する   →  しうる In kanji, this verb is written 得る, but in this ...


13

Here's where 歩けなく comes from: Start with the verb 歩く, "to walk". Turn it into its potential form: 歩ける, "able to walk". Make it negative: 歩けない, "unable to walk". Turn the newly formed i-adjective into an adverb: 歩けなく. Now, なっちゃう is a shorter form of なって + しまう. なって, of course, is the -て form of なる, which means "to become". なる requires that the adjective ...


12

みえる = to be able to see. (precisely: to be seen/to be in sight) ⇒ Can you see the fujisan? => 富士山が見えますか? みれる = to be able to watch. ⇒ Can you watch DVD with this? => それでDVDが見れますか? The same for 聞ける (Can you listen) vs 聞こえる (Can you hear / precisely: to be heard/to be audible) みえる and きこえる and not a special form of みる and きく, they are specific verbs ...


12

Neither of the current answers sit well with me at the moment, so I'm going to risk adding to the confusion by posting another. Question 1 (grammar) First, let's clarify the two verbs in question: 解く solve (a problem) 解ける resolve (itself) (These are not the only definitions, but for the sake of brevity and on-topic-ness we'll go with these.) The ...


11

Technically, it exists, but as a Japanese-speaker, I would NOT recommend that you actively use it --- at least not on a regular basis. As @Chocolate stated in the comment above, 「~~させられうる」 is the form. Your sentence “It is possible that she may make you eat her cooking.” can be said in Japanese as: 「ボクは[彼女]{かのじょ}に[自分]{じぶん}の[料理]{りょうり}を[食]{た}べさせられうる。」 ...


11

First of all, it should be 食べられる rather than 食べれる, although the latter form is used. See this link. Once you have conjugated a verb into the potential form it behaves just like any other iru-eru/group 1 (whatever you want to call it) verb. As you probably already know, to make a group 1 verb negative you just remove る and replace it with ない. So we get ...


9

I don't think there is way to decide that without looking at context. And there is another meaning for ~られる, which is used as polite form (keigo), which means 食べられる can be used as similar meaning with 召し上がる (meshiagaru), but of course special usage 召し上がる is more polite than 食べられる for this case.


9

Context is important. With passive verbs you should look for a に before the verb that will mark the person or thing that performs the verb. This is not the same as the subject of the verb. For example, if you see the short phrase: お兄さんに食べられた。 You can figure out pretty quickly from the に that this is not the potential. The subject of the sentence is an ...


9

In this case, the particle で denotes method/means ('by means of', 'with', 'using', etc.) The difference is 'speak in Japanese' vs 'speak Japanese'. 日本語で上手に話せます。 One can (speak / talk with someone / say something) well in Japanese. 日本語が上手に話せます。 One can speak Japanese well. (= One is a good Japanese speaker). When someone says 日本語で話す, it means ...


8

A devil's-advocate, non-rigorous argument from etymology: (1) /wakaru/ is morphologically /wak.ar.u/, and so in /ar/ already contains a spontaneous/passive morpheme that is equivalent (in some ways, different in others of course) to modern /((ra)r)e/. (2) Constructions like /nihongo ga wakaru/ are often explained as equivalent to "[somebody] understands ...


8

「答{こた}えられる」 has three different usages and meanings. Honorific: Used when describing someone higher up answering. 「その質問{しつもん}にはスミス様{さま}が答えられました。」 = "Mr. Smith (kindly) answered the question." Potential: Used to express "can answer" or "to be able to answer". 「その質問は難{むずか}しすぎて答えられません。」 = "That question is too difficult (for me) to answer."...


8

Well, it appears to me that you're confused with the transitivity of 止まる. While the English word "stop" is used both transitively (as in "I stopped the taxi.") and intransitively (as in "Then the taxi stopped."), 止まる is always intransitive. The transitive version is 止める, and its potential form is 止められる. So 俺は止まらない just means "I don't stop" or "I will never ...


7

It depends on what you mean by “potential form.” Both れる/られる and ことができる are attached to a verb and their basic meaning is “have the ability to do.” (れる/られる has very different meanings such as passive and respect, but I ignore them for the purpose of this answer.) Because they are about the ability, the subject is usually animate. The combination of ある+...


7

I don't know what you mean by "-せる" form. -せる can appear at the end of the verb in at least two ways. As the potential form of a verb, which ends in -す. 帰す -> 帰せる As the causative form of a verb. 帰る -> 帰らせる Here, -せる is the potential form of the verb 倒す, so 倒す "to throw over, to knock down" 倒せる "to be able to throw over / knock down" 倒せない "not to ...


6

1 When you're walking and your shoelaces come undone, they appear to do that on their own. 靴ひもがほどける does not mean that someone unties them, but that they "untie themselves". The meaning is closer to an intransitive active than to a passive; therefore にくい is appropriate. On the other hand, 問題が解ける means that the problem is solved by someone, not that it solves ...


6

I think ~ことができる has more to do with the potentiality (real word?) of things out of your control and ~(ら)れる has more to do with your abilities or things you can control. 雨が止んだら、テニスにいくことができるよ! → After the rain stops, we'll be able to go play tennis (can't control the rain). こつこつ日本語勉強するなら、難しい漢字も読めるようになる。 → If you keep up with your Japanese studies, you'...


6

As pointed out in other answers, わかる is etymologically an potential/intransitive/passive verb of わける/わく. Then there are two questions: why cannot potential/passive/intransitive verbs have potential form. why the intransitive わかる is always used. how the potential form works Why cannot potential verbs have potential forms I have had this questions for years ...


6

Yes, it is the potential form of 書く in the progressive. These phrases are often used in the form 上手に/よく+[verb in potential form]. By itself, the potential form indicates that you are able to do something, and in combination with 上手に/よく, it means you did it well. よく読めた (praising a primary school kid on his 音読 reading out loud) 上手にできた etc. The ...


6

A purely-grammar-based, "textbook" answer would be 「[褒]{ほ}められ[得]{う}る」. The chances that you would ever hear/see us say that in a natural setting would, however, be close to 0%. It sounds pretty wordy and not even completely "natural". In real life, 「褒めてもらえる」, the phrase given by @Choko above, would be far more natural. 「褒められることができる」 is actually as ...


6

合える is the Potential conjugation of 合う。 Attaching ~ 合う (あう)to the end of a verb stem means to do the action with each other or to do the action mutually with someone else. (See more examples on the source page) Attaching 〜合う and 〜合える in this way is pretty common. To determine whether it would be fitting in a certain situation, a good rule of thumb is ...


6

''することができる'' isn't ill-advised at all. Generally, you can say ''(verb, dictionary form)~ことができる'' when someone can do something, of course you can say ''することができる''. You don't have to care about duplicating ''する''. There are many verbs like ''勉{べん}強{きょう}する'', ''質{しつ}問{もん}する'', etc. These ''する-form verb'' can be appended to ''ことができる'', such as ''...


6

Is using "することができる" ill-advised? Short answer: No. "することができる" is perfectly normal. Long answer: If you do a quick search for "することができる" on google, you will find a lot of hits, where some of the main ones are people voicing the same concern. "Is 'することができる' good grammar?". Nonetheless, the fact that you do get over 65 million hits for the term, and that ...


6

行{い}ける vs. いける When a common word that is usually written using kanji is written in kana, you can be 99% sure that it is being used for its "new" and/or colloquial (sometimes slangy) meaning. So, 「行ける」 means "to be able to go", but 「いける」 means something else. What does it mean, then? Let us quote from デジタル大辞泉. 動{どう}カ下一{しもいち}]《行{い}くことができる意{い}から》 1 ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible