Are they used interchangeably or do they really have separate uses? I keep getting confused between the three.
They have pretty similar meaning and almost interchangeable in daily conversation but there are subtle differences between these three words.
- 可以 means you can do something
- 能 is used when you want to emphasise you have the ability to do something
- 会 means you are not only able to do it but do it proficiently
There are a few examples:
- 我可以说中文 I can speak Chinese (probably not very well and maybe not willing to speak Chinese)
- 我能说中文 I am able to speak Chinese (I'm not those people who completely don't understand Chinese)
- 我会说中文 I can speak Chinese proficiently (probably you can speak Chinese fluently and you're willing to speak Chinese)
I hope this will be helpful.