Qubyte Codes

Ability to do

Published

There are two major ways of expressing the ability to do something.

Verb in the potential form

A verb in the potential form directly expresses ability:

  • ()べる: to eat
  • ()べられる: to be able to eat

Using ()()

This pattern seems to be used in a more general sense of possibility rather than for particular events or peeople etc., though I'm not advanced enough to have a feel for it.

The general pattern is to add (こと)()() to a verb in the dictionary form.

  • ()べる: to eat
  • ()べる(こと)()(): to be able to eat

For する verbs this pattern can be added directly to the noun:

  • テニスをする: to play tennis
  • テニス(こと)()(): to be able to play tennis

This fries my brain a bit when I remember that ()() is already the (irregular) potential form of する.

Remember, when in the negative form the may become a for emphasis!