Teacher Julia’s Story – 会&可以

I am Julia, a Chinese teacher online. I really enjoy teaching Chinese. My Chinese classes are full of fun and my students really enjoy learning Chinese online with me.

I always say to my students: “Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.” That’s true because you learn from your mistakes, right? Especially those that make you laugh so hard.

Last week, one of my students whose name is Helene (I put her photo here. She is gorgeous, right?) tried to use Chinese to describe the terrible weather in Hong Kong. She wanted to say, “because of the storm, the planes couldn’t take off or land.” With one word, her attempt turned a simple observation into fake news of a major catastrophe.

Her attempt:

Zài XiānɡGǎnɡ fēijīchǎnɡ, suǒyǒu fēijī dōu búhuì qǐfēi hé jiàngluò.

在 香港 飞机场,所有 飞机 都 不会 起飞 和 降落。

I explained to her that she should not use hui (会) here because, in the negative, it means, “Doesn’t have the ability to do something.” She burst into laughter, ” It is really a big problem if all the planes don’t have the ability to take off and land!”

Now she knows she should use the word kěyǐ (可以) in this case to express “objective possibility.” Every time she is trying to use there two words she would think of this funny story which reminds her to use them in the right way.

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