Sometimes things may not be definite: not definitely yes or definitely no. You have to leave open the chance that it may be possibly or maybe. Do you know how to do this effectively and naturally?

In this Podcast, you will learn:

(1) How to say that something may not be definite

(2) To let someone know that an event or situation may only be possible

Dialogue: A couple are at home discussing their wedding guest list:

A: 你二叔能来参加咱们的婚礼么?Nǐ èr shū néng lái cānjiā zánmen de hūnlǐ me?

Is your second uncle coming to our wedding banquet?

B:能啊,他肯定能来。Néng a, tā kěndìng néng lái.

Yes, he is definitely coming.

A: 那你表姐周娜呢?Nà nǐ biǎojiě zhōu nà ne?

How about your cousin Zhou Na?

B: 她肯定来不了,她刚生完孩子。Tā kěndìng lái bu le, tā gāng shēng wán háizi.

No, she cannot come.

A: 那你好朋友杨洋呢?Nà nǐ hǎo péngyǒu yáng yáng ne?

How about your best friend Yang Yang?

B: 他前一阵把腿摔断了,他可能来不了了。我再打电话问问他吧。Tā qián yīzhèn bǎ tuǐ shuāi duànle, tā kěnéng lái bu liǎo liǎo. Wǒ zài dǎ diànhuà wèn wèn tā ba.

He broke a leg recently, maybe he cannot come. Let me give him a call to ask.

Chinese words and phrases mentioned in this Podcast:

二叔:second uncle

参加:join, attend

能:can (can also mean yes, okay)




刚生完孩子:just had a baby

好朋友:good friend

腿摔断了:broke a leg

来不了:cannot come

打电话:make a call


Cultural note: In China, if you were invited by others to their wedding, tradition means you need to invite them to your wedding. So, deciding on a wedding guest list is not an easy job as you don’t want to forget to invite some important guests as it could be quite embarrassing!

Mandarin Chinese learning resources we recommend:

Keats Chinese SchoolKeats Chinese School, which was founded in 2004, is one of the top Mandarin Chinese language schools in China, offering both one-on-one immersion Mandarin courses and small group Chinese classes. Located in Kunming, Keats develops personalised exercises and materials for students to meet their learning goals and requirements and can arrange a student visa for its 16 week course. Why not try one of their highly recommended courses?

Yes! I’d like to learn Mandarin Chinese more effectively

Narrated by Song Liu

Our Podcast narrator, is a native Chinese speaker and is originally from Beijing, China and is keen to help you get ahead with learning. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Master of Arts in Communication Studies. Song also hosted a Mandarin live call-in news and music radio show in the Bay Area.

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