100 Grammar Points


29. Can できます

There are a few of ways to say “I can…” in Japanese.  The easiest is できます dekimasu.  Let’s look at how to form some sentences. 

CAN + NOUN [できます]


日本語 が できます。
nihongo ga dekimasu.
I can (speak) Japanese. [I can do Japanese.]


漢字 が できます。
kanji ga dekimasu.
I can (read/write) kanji. [I can do kanji.]


スカイダイビング が できます。
sukaidaibingu ga dekimasu.
I can skydive.

CAN + VERB [こと が できます]

Actually, the above are all shortened versions without the verb. Let’s add the verb + kotokoto means thing, but here it is used to make a verb a noun phrase so it will work with dekimasu.

Let’s look at the same examples, but with the verb.


日本語 を 話す こと が できます。
nihongo o hanasu koto ga dekimasu.
I can speak Japanese.


漢字 を 読む こと が できます。
kanji o yomu koto ga dekimasu.
I can read kanji.

Be creative and come up with things you can do!


100 Grammar Points


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