Edit: This is a duplicate of How does tone sandhi apply in people's names?

I learned the rules for pronouncing tone pairs, I know that for a sentence like 我买花 the two third tones become a second and a third tone, the pronunciation would be wó mǎi huā. I learned this from This site

I came across this sentence: 我可以看得很清楚. There are three third tones at the start of the sentence 我可以 (wǒ kěyǐ), how do the tones change in a case like this?

  • has been answered before, search site
    – user6065
    Jul 31, 2017 at 14:05
  • when two 3-tuned characters adjacent, first one should be pronounced as 2nd tune. e.g. 处理 = chu2 li3. 我可以 = wo3 ke2 yi3. Aug 1, 2017 at 1:08

2 Answers 2


I know that for a sentence like 我买花 the two third tones become a second and a fourth tone, the pronunciation would be wó mài huā

According to the rule of the 3rd tone sandhi, to be more precise, the tones should be 2-(半三声)-1. Note that the tone of 买 should be 半三声, which means only the first half of the 3rd tone, without the rising tone part. If you pronounced it as the 4th tone, it'll become 我卖花.

Then for 我可以看~, the tones would be 半三声-2-半三声-4-~. 我可以 could be interpreted as 我+可以, and when three words with the 3rd tone are used together and with 1-2 construction rule #4.2 applies, the 1st word is pronounced as 半三声, the 2nd word is pronounced as the 2nd tone, so 我可 is pronounced as 半三声-2. And according to the rule #3, i.e. when word with the 3rd tone is used before other words with the 1st/2nd/4th tone, it's pronounced as the 半三声, so 以 is pronounced as 半三声 here.


I don't know this kind of pronunciation rules. it could be the rule for non Chinese speaker to learn pronunciations. As for 我买花,if you pronounce as "wó mài huā", I would think you mean "我卖花",opposing to 买. I will read the above sentences without changing any tones.

  • Sorry I mixed up the rule, I think the rule changes wǒ mǎi huā to wó mǎi huā. Could you take a look at my question again?
    – Hugh
    Jul 31, 2017 at 14:08

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.