Chinese Words for Unable To and Able To: 不起(bùqǐ) and 得起(deqǐ)

By Sujanti Djuanda – LingoLearn Chinese Teacher

I. 不起(bùqǐ= unable to)

Example 1:

Now houses are more and more expensive, if we do not work hard, then even more in the future we can’t afford to buy it.

现在(xiàn​zài)房子(fángzi)越来越(yuè​lái​yuè)贵(guì)了(le) , 再不(zài​bù= if not, then)努力(nǔ​lì)的话(de​huà),以后(yǐ​hòu)更加(gèng​jiā)买(mǎi)不起(bùqǐ)了(le)。

Example 2

We can’t afford to use an electric anymore.

我们(wǒmen)用(yòng)不起(bùqǐ)电(diàn) 了(le)。

Example 3

The university students can’t afford to pay tuition fee anymore.


Example 4:

He can’t afford to drink soda.


Example 5:

We can’t afford to eat lobster.


Example 6:

Why you didn’t thankful that old man at all? We must respect others. Don’t despise others, no matters who he is.


II. 得起(deqǐ= able to)

Subject + Verb + 得起(deqǐ)+ Object + (了(le))

Example 1:

She can afford to buy a house.


Example 2:

We can afford to use an electric.


Example 3:

We must afford to respect others.


Example 4:

They can afford to raise a child anymore.


Example 5:

He can afford to drink soda.


Example 6:

We can afford to eat lobster.

我们(wǒmen)吃(chī)得起(deqǐ)龙虾(lóngxiā) 。

Example 7:

It’s so much numbers, how can he remember them all?


Example 8:

Would you be able to take responsibility?


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