The first way to use “can” is 会 huì. 会 huì is used to express skills that we are able to do because we have learned it. It can be for example swimming, riding a bike or playing the piano. To have a better understanding of the idea, you can replace “can” by “know how to”:
wǒ huì yóuyǒng
I can swim (I know how to swim)
wǒ de mèimei bù huì qí zìxíngchē
My little sister can’t ride a bike (doesn’t know how to ride a bike)
lǎoshī huì tán gāngqín
(My/our) teacher can play the piano (knows how to play the piano)!
And if you have the chance to come to China, one of the most common sentences that you will hear is:
nǐ huì shuō zhōngwén ma?
Can you speak Chinese?
You can answer this question in different ways:
• 会 huì
• Yes, I can
• 不会 bù huì
• No, I can’t
• 一点点 yī diǎn diǎn
• A little bit
• 马马虎虎 mǎmahǔhǔ