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The title pretty much says it all. It makes sense to me, but Google gives "do it" when I plug the Chinese phrase into it. If 做可做的 sounds awkward or stilted, what would be a better way to express it?

  • see jukuu for "do what you can":尽力做你所能做的事情,etc. 做可做的 seems unintelligible – user6065 Aug 15 '17 at 13:32
  • Commonly pointed out in Chinese language learning materials (e.g. here is a three way distinction between 可, 能, and 会. See which word works most appropriate for what you are trying to express. – haksayng Aug 15 '17 at 21:28
  • does your 做可做的 come from a machine translated statement? if so, please don't trust it and find original statement instead. Possible translations: try your best; show your best experiences; do thing supposed to be allowed. 可 can be understood as : able to do, suggest to do, allowed to do. – Daniel Yeung Aug 16 '17 at 9:46
  • Hi again, @DanielYeung! The Chinese was actually my (very elementary) attempt to translate the English myself. – JAF Aug 16 '17 at 12:08
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    Generally 做你能做的 is better than 做你可做的, where, 能做的 (有能力 able to) means that you can do it, while 可做的 (可以做/有能力/胜任 或 允许做) means that you are allowed to do it. Without context, audience cannot know it means 能/胜任/可以 or 允许, so that use 做你能做的 to avoid confusion。in most scenarios, 能 = able to, 可 = allowed (e.g. has a certificate, granted). – Daniel Yeung Aug 17 '17 at 0:52
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做你能做的

or

做你可做的 sometimes means 'Do what you allowed'

and

做你力所能及的, Do what you are abled to

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做(v): to do

可做的(adj): doable (able to do/ allowed to do)

The phrase '做可做的' literally mean 'do the doable' with the object 事/事情 omitted. It would be more natural and unambiguous to have the object intact.

For example:

  • 做事- do thing

  • 可做的事- do the doable thing

(thing that you are able to do/ thing that you are allowed to do)

To sound more natural, you should use the compound word 可以 instead of the single character 可 and write: "做可以做的事"

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There is a phrase "盡力而為" which means "do your best".

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