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Can できます

Oni's picture
There are a couple 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]

1

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

2

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

3

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.  koto means thing, but here it is used to make a verb a noun so it will work with dekimasu.

1

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

2

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!

FOR MORE ON THIS ...

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What's the difference between

What's the difference between koto and mono, since they both seem to make nouns out of verbs?

もの vs. こと

It can be a little subtle sometimes, but as a general rule,
たべるもの⇒たべもの⇒a thing to eat (aka, food)
たべること⇒'eating' (as a noun).

もの is generally a physical object, while こと is generally an abstraction.

Regarding the koto word, used

Regarding the koto word, used to make a verb into a noun, can the word mono be used, which also makes verbs into nouns, like tabemono, nomimono, etc?

たべるまってできれ does this make

たべるまってできれ
does this make sense. and would it fit to be said in a group of close friends?

No

It doesn't make any sense. I have no idea what you're trying to say.

ろす's picture

why?

why does the verb need to be made a noun to do this?

Just a guess, but I think

Just a guess, but I think it's so the sentence can be like "I can do (a particular activity)."

Like "I can do take pictures" would be an odd statement, but making the activity of "taking pictures" into a noun, it's like "I can do photography".

Not the best explanation, but that's kind of how I think of it.

micahcowan's picture

Yup

I'd say that's exactly right. できます is basically used as a potential form for します.

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