'afford' in its meaning of 'can pay for' is not so easy to locate in Chinese. There doesn't seem to be one word. 'can't afford' is fairly easy: '买不起‘。

I have this in my text:

..., 既满足了自己买车的愿望,又能承受得起燃油费用。

承受得起 = afford ?? This 得 is its use as a particle?

  • the opposite of 买不起 is 买得起 of course.
    – Mou某
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 4:49
  • You translate 买得起 as afford?
    – Pedroski
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 5:45
  • as comment #1 as well as answer #1 make clear, what is required is "can afford" rather than "afford", and "can afford" is in plenty of dictionaries (买得起 see comment #1)
    – user6065
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 7:33
  • @Pedroski why not? You could always change it depending on the context but it's okay as a translation. New World Press (NWP) (on Pleco, again!) says: I will buy it when I can afford it. 我买得起就买。 Wǒ mǎide qǐ jiùmǎi Oxford (on Pleco) : to be able to afford sth. 买得起某物 BUT Oxford also has: to be able to afford to do sth. 有钱做某事 So it really depends on the context
    – Mou某
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 7:58
  • Thanks, I'll remember that with '不起‘ and ’得起‘。 None too happy with NWP's translation. I'd go for 'If I could afford it, I would buy it.' but maybe we need context there too. @ Reechen, my sentence already has '能', you must have missed that, what I was asking for was 'afford'. Check iciba for 能负担得起, und Brille putzen gell!
    – Pedroski
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 12:20

3 Answers 3


Your text (承受得起) is fine. And also could use 负担得起 for can afford.

As you said, it's easy to say can't afford as ~不起, and the opposites in Chinese is ~得起, and then you could use this form for more verbs according to the context.

  • If '负担得起' is 'can afford', what is '能负担得起‘? 'can can afford'?
    – Pedroski
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 23:01
  • @Pedroski 能负担, 负担得起, 能负担得起, they all mean can afford, no overlap here.
    – user4072
    Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 1:23

承受得起 here could loosely be translated as "afford", but also as "to bear the burden of sth", as in 承受负担. Like you said, 得 is an adverbial particle. The opposite is 不.

Afford has several different connotations and usages in English. Here are examples of the most common ones:

I can't afford (to buy) this house. 我买不起这个房子。 I can't afford (to pay) your wages. 我付不起你的工资. I can't afford (to accept) this outcome. 我承担不起这个结果.

Hope that helps!


I think you may make it simple:


cannot afford=不能承担

I canot afford the gas cost=我不能承担汽油的费用

"不起" is not a must in most cases.

In fact, you can translate "cannot afford" to 不能承担 or 承担不起.

So "得起/不起" is really something related to "can/cannot", not "afford".

"得起/不起" is a bit wider than "can/cannot":

in 玩不起, 输不起, 伤不起 or 惹不起, 不起=definitely cannot + massive side effect if it happened.

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