I am confused about how to construct (and understand) phrases that involve: 得 and its negative 唔得 with a verb.

Specifically, what is the difference between 唔得買,冇買得。

A corresponding confusion would be how to say the following in cantonese: wasn’t able to buy, don’t buy. Are there other patterns i should know?

Please suggest a definitive rule for this. Thanks

1 Answer 1


買 = buy

買[] = [can] buy (allowed to buy)

[]買[] = [can't] buy (not allowed to buy)

[冇得]買 = [not available] to buy

  • 冇買得 is ungrammatical

食 = eat

食[] = [can] eat (allowed to eat)

[]食[] = [can't] eat (not allowed to eat)

[冇得]食 = [not available] to eat

For "don't" it is "唔好"


唔好買貴嘢 = don't buy expensive stuff

唔好食太多鹽 = don't eat too much salt


  • [唔好][食] = [don't][eat]

  • [唔][好食] = [not] [tasting good]

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