In a sentence like this,

他遇到了一个好朋友, 可带他去很多酒吧

does the 可 mean the new friend “can” bring him to the bar, or that he is “willing to”?

I’ve always thought of 可 as just “can” or “able to”, but I saw on Pleco that it could be used as an auxiliary to mean “be willing to; be ready to”.

The examples given include 可干 and 可虚心接受意见.

Maybe it always means “willing to” in front of a verb, and you’d use 可以 when you want to say “can”?

  • 他遇到了一个好朋友, 可带他去很多酒吧 isn't a good sentence. where did you see the sentence?
    – dan
    Jun 22, 2020 at 22:36
  • Ah, sorry. I saw a similarly structured sentence in a webnovel synopsis, but didn’t want to copy it, so tweaked it instead. The main point is that he met a person that can take him through to another world. I couldn’t think of a different scenario where the same structure might be used, hence the bad sentence. Please excuse it. (._.;) Jun 23, 2020 at 1:33

2 Answers 2


可虚心接受意见 literally mean "can/ able to humbly accept suggestions"

If you can accept suggestions, it also implies you are willing to accept suggestions (most people can't accept suggestions = unwilling to accept suggestions)

可带他去很多酒吧 should be translated as 'able to take him to many bars'

For 可 to suggest 'willing', the sentence must state something the subject might be unwilling to do


這孩子刻苦練功 (This child can practice hard) meaning 這孩子 (willing to) 刻苦練功 (most people can't practice hard = unwilling to practice hard)

it is better to replace 可 (can/ able/ willing to) with the more specific 肯 for "willing"


他遇到了一个好朋友, 可带他去很多酒吧 isn't an idiomatic sentence.

I will understand it as he might take him to many bars. 可 in the context means 可以 or 可能,may or can.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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