How to use 出来る = できる = dekiru

dekiru

「枝豆、いつできるかなあ。」

= Edamame, itsu dekiru kanaa.

= I wonder when I can harvest Edamame.

Hi everyone!
Today’s lesson is the verb 出来る = できる= dekiru.

I know it is a VERY basic verb and many of you know already how to use it.

But as always I will try to include some useful information for even intermediate level students. OK?

*出来るできる= dekiru.

★ polite form

:rrrr: 出来ます= できます= dekimasu

★ negative form

:rrrr: 出来ない = できない = dekinai

★ polite negative form

:rrrr: 出来ません = できません = dekimasen.

★ past tense

:rrrr: 出来なかった = できなかった = dekinakatta

★ polite past tense

:rrrr: 出来ませんでした = できませんでした = dekimasen deshita

 

!star! How use 出来るできる = dekiru.

1) to be able to do something

(1) The potential form of する ( = suru), which means “to do”, is できる( = dekiru) which means “to be able to do, can do.”

*勉強(を)する = benkyou (wo) suru = to study

:rrrr: to be able to study  勉強 (が)できる ( = benkyou (ga) dekiru) to be able to study

Note: Be careful! When you use a potential form of verb, the particle changes to ( = ga) or ( = wa)

Ex. こんなうるさいところでは勉強(が)できません

= Konna urusai tokoro dewa benkyou (ga) dekimasen.

= I can’t study in such noisy place.

 

*ゆっくりする = yukkuri suru = to relax

:rrrr: ゆっくりできる = yukkuri dekiru = to be able to relax

Ex. 今日は日曜日なのでゆっくりできる

= Kyou wa nichiyoubi nanode yukkuri dekiru.

= It’s Sunday today so I can relax.

*運転する = untennsuru = to drive

:rrrr: 運転できる( = unten dekiru) = to be able to drive

Ex. 運転できますか?

= Unten dekimasuka?

= Do you know how to drive? / Can you drive?

*信用する = shinyousuru=  to trust

:rrrr: 信用できる ( = shinyou dekiru) = to be able to trust

Ex. あの人は信用できない

= Ano hito wa shinyou dekinai.

= I can’t trust that person.

*旅行する = ryokousuru = to travel

:rrrr: 旅行できる = ryokou dekiru = to be able to travel

Ex. この夏、一緒に旅行できる人いる?

= Kono natsu, issho ni ryokou dekiru hito iru?

= Anybody can travel with me this summer?

 !heartsippai! You can ask some permission with ~ できます ( = dekimasuka) = May I?

*試着する = shichakusuru = to try something on

:rrrr:試着できる ( = shichaku dekiru) = to be able to try something on

Ex. これ、試着できますか?

= Kore shichaku dekimasuka?

= Can I try it on?

(2) verb + ことができる( = koto ga dekiru) = to be able to do something

The potential form of verbs

*読む = yomu = to read

 :rrrr: 読める = yomeru = to be able to read

Ex. A) この漢字が読めます。

= Kono kanji ga yomemasu.

= I can read this kanji.

Now change the potential form to

verb +  ことができる ( = koto ga dekiru) = to be able to do ~

Ex. A) この漢字を読むことができます

= Kono kanji wo yomu koto ga dekimasu

Note

The difference between the regular potential form and verb +  ことができる ( = koto ga dekiru)

They mean the same but  verb +  ことができる ( = koto ga dekiru) is more formal.
For example, when you want to see your friend, you usually say

Ex. 明日、会える?

= Ashita, aeru?

= Can I see you tomorrow?

You say:

Ex. 明日、会うことができる

= Ashita, au koto ga dekiru?

= Can I see you tomorrow? /  Is it possible to see you tomorrow?

when you have something important to tell them.

Ex. 服のサイズを直すことはできますか?

= Fuku no saizu wo naosu koto wa dekimasu ka?

= Is it possible to adjust the size of the clothes?

Ex. 足を捻挫して今、走ることができません

= Ashi wo nenza shite ima,  hashiru koto ga dekimasen.

= I sprained my leg, and I can’t run now.

Ex. 材料がそろったからやっとケーキを焼くことができる

= Zairyou ga sorotta kara yatto keiki wo yaku koto ga dekiru.

= I got all the ingredients now so I can finally bake a cake.

Ex. ドイツ語を話すことはできますか?

= Doitsugo wo hanasu koto wa dekimasuka?

= Can you speak German?

Ex. お会い(することが)できて光栄です。

= Oai (surukoto ga) dekite kouei desu.

It’s a pleasure to meet you.

Note:

When you want to show some contrast, you use the particle は ( = wa) →ことできる( = koto wa dekiru)

Ex. 返品することできません

= Henpin suru koto wa dekimasen.

= You can not return the item.

Ex. コアラと写真を撮ることできますが、抱っこすることできません

= Koara to shashin wo toru koto wa dekimasuga, dakko suru koto wa dekimasen.

= You are allowed to take a picture with Koala bears, but you can not hold them.

Ex. ピアノを弾くことできるが、歌うことできない

= Piano wo hiku koto wa dekiru ga, utau koto wa dekinai.

= I can play the piano, but I can not sing.

(3) noun が ( = ga) + できる ( = dekiru) = capable of ~ , to be able to do  ~ , to have ability to ~

Ex. 彼は仕事ができる

= Kare wa shigoto ga dekiru.

= He is good at his work.

Ex. この子は4歳なのにもう読み書きができる

= Kono ko wa yonsai nanoni mou yomikaki ga dekiru.

= This child is only 4 years old but he/she can already read and write. (have ability to read and write)

Ex.  忙しくて家事ができない

= Isogashikute kaji ga dekinai.

= I am too busy to do housework.

Ex. 小さい子供でもできるゲームはありますか?

= Chiisai kodomo demo dekiru geimu wa arimasuka?

= Do you have any games that even a little child can play?

Ex.日本に100年も住んでいるのにまだ日本語ができない

= Nihon ni hyakunen mo sunde iru noni mada nihongo ga dekinai.

= I’ve been living in Japan for 100 years, and I still can’t speak Japanese. (I am not good at Japanese)

Ex. 1分間に何回、腕立て伏せができる

= Ippunkan ni nankai, udetatefuse ga dekiru?

= How many push ups can you do in one minute?

2) to have finished something / Something is done, something is ready, completed

Ex. 出来た

= Dekita!

= I finished it! / I made it! / It’s done!

Ex. やっと、宿題ができた

= Yatto shukudai ga dekita.

= I finally finished my homework.

Ex. ご飯(or 夕食)ができましたよ。

= Gohan (or Yuushoku) ga dekimashita.

= The dinner is ready!

Ex. 旅行の準備はできたの?

= Ryokou no junbi wa dekita no?

= Are you ready for traveling? (Did you pack your suitcase?)

3) to do a good job

Ex.「試験できた?」

= Shiken dekita?

= How was the exam? Did you do a good job in the exam?

「全然、できなかった

= Zenzen dekinakatta.

= No, it was horrible.

Ex. 料理が出来る人と結婚したい。

= Ryouri ga dekiru hito to kekkon shitai.

= I would like to get married to someone who can cook.

3) to grow, to form, to develop something on / in your body

Ex. 背中におできができた

= Senaka ni odeki ga dekita.

= I got a boil on my back

Ex. 甘いものを食べ過ぎて顔ににきびができちゃった

= Amai mono wo tabesugite kao ni nikibi ga dekichatta.

= I ate too much sweets and got pimples on my face.

Ex. 日焼け止めクリームを塗らなかったら、いっぱいシミができた

= Hiyakedome kuriimu wo nuranakatta kara, ippai shimi ga dekita.

= Since I didn’t use sunscreen, I got lots of sun spots.

Ex. 彼は、腫瘍ができたが薬で治ったらしい。

= Kare wa shuyou ga dekita ga kurusi de naotta rashii.

= He got a tumor but it was treated (literally: healed) with medicine.

Ex. 皺(しわ)ができるから笑わせないで。

= Shiwa ga dekiru kara warawasenaide.

= Don’t make me laugh or I’ll get wrinkles.

Ex. このセーターは毛玉ができる

= Kono seetaa wa  kedama ga dekiru.

= This sweater develops little balls of fuzz (pills).

4) to get, to have ~ to form something

Ex. 行列の (or が) できるラーメン屋

= Gyouretsu no (or ga)  dekiru raamenya.

= A very popular ramen noodle shop where people stand in line
(They are so popular that people line up for them.)

Ex. あの店はバーゲンで人だかりができていた

=Ano mise wa  baagen de hitodakari ga dekiteita.

There was a crowd of people for sales at the store.

5) to make, to have, to have gotten  friends, girlfriend, boyfriend.

:rrrr: 友達 / 彼 / 彼女 / 恋人 / 仲間

= tomodachi / kare / kanojo / koibito / nakama

= friends / boyfriend / girlfriend / boyfriend, girlfriend, lover / friends,

Ex. 共通のアニメ好きの仲間がいっぱいできた

= Kyoutsuu no animezuki no nakama ga ippai dekita.

= I made a lot of friends who like the same animation.

Ex. マギーは彼ができたらしいよ。

= Maggie wa kare ga dekitarashii yo.

= I heard Maggie got a boyfriend.

Ex. 新しい友達ができた

= Atarashii tomodachi ga dekita.

= I got a new friend.

6) to become pregnant

Ex. 子供ができたの。

= Kodomo ga dekitano.

= I got pregnant / I have a baby.

(This の ( = no) suffix is for female speech)

Sometimes you just say

:r:

Ex. できちゃったみたい。

= Dekichatta mitai.

= I think I am pregnant.

Ex. 出来ちゃった結婚 (colloquial)

= Dekichatta kekkon

= shotgun wedding.

(ちゃった=chatta= is a casual contraction of ~てしまった(=te shimatta))

Ex. 子供ができたのでもっと仕事をがんばらないといけない。

= Kodomo ga dekita node motto shigoto wo ganbaranai to ikenai.

= Since I have a child (baby) now, I have to work harder.

7) to grow, to be raised , to be ready for harvest

!Anapple! From the picture above

Maggie「枝豆、いつできるかなあ。」

= Edamame, itsu dekiru kanaa.

= I wonder when I can harvest Edamame.

You use 出来る = できる (= dekiru) when fruits or vegetables grow and ready to harvest.

Ex. プランターで出来る野菜はいろいろあります。

= Purantaa de dekiru yasai wa iroiro arimasu.

= There are many kinds of vegetables that you can grow in planters.

Ex. 北海道でできるとうもろこしは甘くて美味しい。

= Hokkaidou de dekiru toumorokoshi wa amakute oishii.

= The corns that grow in Hokkaido are sweet and tasty.

8) to get intimate

Ex. あの二人は出来ているみたいだ。

= Ano futari wa dekite iru mitaida.

They seem to be in love with each other.

9) to have some plans, to have/make time to do something

Ex. 急用ができたので行かなくてはいけません。

= Kyuuyou ga dekita node ikanakutewa ikemasen.

= Something came up so I have to go now.

Note: 急用 ( = kyuuyou) is some urgent matter to take care of

Ex. 用事ができたので少し、遅れます。

= Youji ga dekita node sukoshi, okuremasu.

= Something came up, so I will be a little late.

Ex. ひまができたらまた遊びに行きます。

= Hima ga dekitara mata asobini ikimasu.

= When I get more free time, I will come over again.

Ex. ちょっと時間ができたので旅行に行ってきます。

= Chotto jikan ga dekita node ryokou ni itte kimasu.

= I got some extra time, so I will go traveling.

Note:

The difference between 時間がある ( = jikan ga aru) and 時間ができる ( = jikan ga dekiru)

時間がある ( = jikan ga aru) is just a fact. to have some time. You say 時間ができる ( = jikan ga dekiru) when you have been busy and hoping to have extra time and finally got some time to do something.

10) to be built, a new place opens

Ex. 駅前に新しいデパートができた

= Ekimae ni atarashii depaato ga dekita.

= A new department store opened in front of the station.

Ex. いつ、うちの近くにコンビニができるのかなあ。

= Itsu, uchi no chikaku ni konbini ga dekiru no kanaa.

= I wonder when we are going to have a convenience store near my house.

Ex. 隣にマンションが出来たら日当りが悪くなる。

= Tonari ni manshon  ga dekitara hiatari ga waruku naru.

= If they build an apartment building, we won’t get much sunlight.

You can also talk about some system

Ex. 世の中そういう風に出来ている

= Yononaka souiufuu ni dekiteiru.

= That’s the way things work in this world.

Ex. 新しい税金の法律はお金持ちがもっとお金を儲ける様に出来ている

= Atarashii zeikin no houritsu wa okanemochi ga motto okkane wo moukeru you ni dekite iru.

= The new tax law is was designed so that rich people can make more money.

11) to be made of ~, to consist of

Ex. このソースはバターとレモンの絞り汁で出来ています

= Kono sousu wa battaa to remon no shiborijiru de dekite imasu.

= This sauce is made of butter and lemon juice.

Ex. この料理はなんで出来ているんですか?

= Kono ryouri wa nande dekite irun desu ka?

= What is this food made of?

Ex.そのおもちゃは木でできているのでとても安全です。

= Sono omocha wa ki de dekite iru node totemo anzen desu.

= This toy is  made of wood, so it’s very safe.

Ex. よく出来ているね。

= Yoku dekite irune.

= It’s well-made.

12) Other common expressions

出来がいい = deki ga (or no)  ii = well made, smart

出来が悪い = deki ga (or no)  warui= poorly made,  badly made,   bad

Ex. 試験の出来が悪い。

=Shiken no deki ga  warui

= To do poorly on the exam.

Ex. 彼は出来がいい生徒です。

= Kare wa deki ga ii seito desu.

= He is a bright student.

*出来すぎた= dekisugita = too good to be true

Ex. この話は出来すぎている。

= Kono hanashi wa dekisugite iru.

= This is too good to be true.

出来合い = dekiai = ready-made, prepared

Ex. 出来合いの食べ物で夕食をとる。

= Dekiai no tabemono de yuushoku wo toru.

= To have dinner with ready-made food.

出来= dekidaka= earned value, turnover,  trading volume

Ex. 株の出来= kabu no dekidaka = stock market turnover –

出来るだけ= できるだけ= dekiru dake = as much as possible,

Ex. できるだけ努力します。

= Dekirudake doryoku shimasu.

= I will try harder as much as possible.

Ex. できるだけたくさん、ジャーキーを下さい。

= Dekirudake takusan, jaakii wo kudasai.

= Please give me dog treats as much as possible.

Ex. できるだけ早く行きます。

= Dekirudake hayaku ikimasu.

= I will try to be there as early as possible.

(You can also say 出来る限り=dekiru kagiri = as much as you can)

:u:

Ex. 出来る限りのことをします。

= Dekiru kagiri no koto wo shimasu.

= I will do as much as I can.

maggie-senseiマギー先生より = Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

やっと「出来る」のレッスンができました

= Yatto “Dekiru” no ressun ga dekimashita.

= Finally the lesson on “dekiru” is finished.

できるだけわかりやすく作ったつもりですが、わからないことがあったらいつでも質問してね。

= Dekirudake wakariyasuku tsukutta tsumori desuga, wakaranai koto ga attara itsudemo shitsumon shitene.

= I tried to make it as easy as possible but if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me.

***

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30 Comments

  1. Dear Maggiesensei,

    Thank you for the lesson. I have a question. Can I say Ekimae ni atarashii depaato ga dekiteiru instead of Ekimae ni atarashii depaato ga dekita?

    If I can’t, why? Isn’t dekiru a ‘state’ verb like kowareru, oreru?

    If I can, then what’s the difference between the two sentences?

    I would be really grateful for your help. I’m stuck wondering why some verbs can be conjugated in the present continuous tense while others can’t (wakaru, aru..)

    Thanks again, hope to hear from you soon,

    1. Hi Trang

      駅前に新しいデパートができている。
      Ekimae ni atarashii depaato ga dekiteiru.

      It is possible.
      The difference between できている and できた is
      できた ( = dekita) They finished the construction.
      できている ( = dekiteiru)  They are still working on the department building.

  2. Hello Maggie Sensei!
    Thank you for your great lessons! ^-^ I have been reading along silently for a while, but today I got a bit confused, so I hope you can help me out.
    It’s probably a stupid question, but isn’t the expression “verb+ことができる” the verb in noun form plus ができる? Because I accidentally wrote “verb+のができる” in my grammar exercise and it was (of course) wrong according to the answer sheet. But isn’t の also a very common way of converting a verb into a noun? Is it just that verb+ことができる is a set expression or is there a reason behind not using verb+のができる as well? Like, maybe using のができる gives it a completely different meaning? (Or did I just not find any examples with の in them? :D)
    Thank you so much and thanks again for the effort you put into your lessons!
    ありがとうございます~ o(^▽^)o

    1. Hi タニヤ!
      Good question.
      verb+ の / verb + こと both are used for nominalization and there are lots of cases that you can use them both but there are exception.
      verb + ことができる is one of them
      You don’t say verb+ のができる

      Other patterns that you can’t use の
      * Vことがある/ない
      * Vことにする
      * Vことになる

      You can’t use Verb の+が+ある

      Someone asked me to make a lesson on の and こと just recently and I added it to the request lesson.

      Thank you so much for your nice encouragement. これからもがんばってレッスンを作ります!

      1. Hello Sensei!
        Thank you so much for your answer! ^_^ 教えてくれてありがとうございました!
        (And sorry for my late reply, somehow I thought I would get a notification … (o_o); ごめんなさい~)
        Together with the other examples you gave, I am getting the feeling the reason might be that you cannot use two particles at the same time. And “の” plus が or に would end up squishing two particles together. I did not even think about this before …
        Anyways, thanks again and I am looking forward to the next lessons! :)

        私も頑張ります!Have a great weekend! <3

  3. I was reading in your lessons ^_^. I found it very good, informative, colorful and easy to understand. I wanted to thank you for all the time and the efforts. The world is a good place, because of people like you. I am living and working in Japan. Thus, I am trying to learn more.

  4. Konnichiwa Maggie-sensei,

    1. Please explain the difference between “dekiru dake” and “dekiru made”.

    I understand “dekiru dake” means “as much as possible” but, since I think of “dake” to mean “only,” I mistakenly think of “dekiru dake” as “do only what you can”. It’s hard for me to shake this!

    I think “dekiru made” means “do only what you can” but I think of “made” as “until,” so my intution is to (incorrectly) translate “dekiru made” as “do as much as you can” (like, “do until your stopping point”).

    2. Is there a nmenonic for remembering the difference in usage?

    3. There is a typo in this example — it’s missing the “e” in dekite: Ano futari wa dkite iru mitaida.

    1. @Genki

      Hi Genki!
      1) 2)できるだけ = dekirudake = as much as possible
      だけ( = dake) means “only” but also “one’s limit” ( = かぎり) or as much as

      verb potential form + だけ
      Ex. 食べられるだけ食べてください。
      = Taberareru dake tabete kudasai.
      = Please eat as much as you can (eat)
      Ex. 荷物を持てるだけ持って行く。

      = Nimotsu wo moteru dake mote iku.
      = I will take luggage as much as I can (carry).

      *できるまで = dekiru made = until one can do something/ until something is finished

      Ex. パンができるまで待ちます。
      = Pan ga dekriu made machimasu.
      = I will wait until the bread is done.

      3. Thank you!! I fixed it. :)

  5. I really wanted to travel to japan, but someone stole my passport. And i dont know why he really like to steal everything from me. He got money so he can litteraly get everything he wants but he was not contented.

  6. Good day/afternoon/evening/night Maggie sensei!
    I have this question that what is 与えることだけはできたらしいさ in English?
    I know that 与える means ‘to give’, ことだけ could mean ‘only thing’ but I have no idea how to translate this できたらしい.
    I would be very happy if you could help me :D
    With greetings, Karin.

    1. I don’t know who gives what to whom.. So it is difficult to translate but

      ~だけはできたらしい means

      It seems like at least he/she/they/ I could give (something)

      ~さ is a casual male suffix.
      ~ さ: ~ , you know.

  7. おはようございます!マギー先生、お元気ですか?便利なレッスンが教えてくれてありがとうございます。たくさんの「できる」の用法が見慣れなかったのでこのレッスンはとても面白いです。次はVerb Tensesを勉強するつもりです。時々失敗するから…

    1. @ocd

      こんにちは!おひさしぶりです。元気でしたか?
      「できる」はいろいろな使い方がありますね。
      Verb Tenseのレッスンもがんばって勉強して下さいね!

  8. I can’t thank you enough. This is very helpful.
    I’m looking forward to your next lesson.
    Do you like video games? Or what’s your favorite manga?
    ありがとう!

  9. こんばんは先生!お元気ですか?
    I hope you are fine and in good health.
    By the way, can you please tell me what is the most famous Japanese newspaper that most people like to read? Also, I’d appreciate it if you’d give me a link to read any newspaper online.
    I have the following questions:

    1.”服のサイズを直すことはできますか?and ” ドイツ語を話すことはできますか?” Why did you use the particle “は” instead of “が”?

    2.”抱っこする” as I know this “抱っこ” is a child language. Is it acceptable to use it here? or adults also use it?

    3. “しいたけ、まつけ、マシュルーム” They all mean “mushroom” but what is the difference? Does Japan have so many types of mushroom or what? I’m so confused.
    Also, can you tell me what is the most common word for “mushroom” that people use?

    4. Can you teach me the difference between “ただ”and “だけ”?
    They both mean it’s just… But what exactly is the difference?

    Thank you so much in advance.

    1. @Kuroineko

      おはよう!!

      The major Japanese newspaper?
      朝日新聞
      毎日新聞
      日経新聞

      This is not newspapers but I recommend NHKやさしい日本語
      You can hear the news and also study the news with text.

      1. You can also say が
      You use は when you show the contrast.
      You can probably do something else but how about this one? Can you do that?

      2. Not really. However sometimes adults say that jokingly. お姫様だっこ = to hold a girl like a princess.
      3. They are all different.
      椎茸(=shiitake)Lentinula edodes、shiitake mushroom We use this for many different types of Japanese food.
      松茸(=matsutake) The very expensive one that we have only in autumn
      マッシュルーム(=mushroom) →This is the one is the most universal one.

      I can’t post pictures here so Google the image of しいたけ and まつたけ. You will see the difference.

      The most common word for mushroom in general is きのこ
      4. This is on the request lesson so please wait for the full explanation.

  10. I see. I’d be so thankful if you make a lesson about Japanese tenses Sensei.
    And I hope I can more use Japanese correctly in every situation and condition.
    そんなこと待ちきれません。ありがとうございます。

  11. マッキー先生 の レッスンは最高です!私はそんなに学んだ! ありがとうございました!

  12. おはようございます先生。
    We know in English there are about 12-16 tenses and we use each of them depending on the context and the situation are. But I still confuse how to use the Japanese tenses I’ve been learning about Godan Doushi, Ichidan Doushi and Fukisoku Doushi. On the comment section you explained about 食べます what I’m questioning about how many form of a verb in Japanese like: 食べます、行きます、飲みます、歩きます etc and how to use them using the rule of tenses in English language is it different because I still don’t get it how to use them.
    I confused when should I use ‘tabete, tabemasu, tabete ita, tabete tabemashita.
    教えて下さいよろしくお願いします。

    1. @John

      Hello John,

      I have been thinking about making a lesson on the tense comparing English.
      (But I have no idea how deep I can get…)
      Until I make that lesson.. just teach you the gist

      *食べる/食べます= I will eat (near future)
      *食べた/食べました= I ate / I have already eaten
      *食べていた/食べていました= I was eating / I used to eat
      *食べている/食べています= I am eating / I eat ((talking about one’s custom, habit) *

      But of course, there are more… so please wait patiently until I make this lesson.

  13. Hello sensei!! good lesson, it’s very explicative and even knowing the verb meanings it taught some new things!!
    I know with dekiru wo is never used but, with the potential form of a verb I see both “kore wo taberareru” or “kore ga taberareru” (I see it more often with ga). According to my book this is common but it doesn’t mention anything about it being grammatically correct so, when doing an exam, should I avoid it or is it grammatically correct?
    arigatou!!

    1. @Sarah

      Hello Sarah,
      I know が is more common but we do say 〜を食べられます/食べられる

      ~を食べます/食べる
      ~は食べられますか/食べられる?
      ~が食べられます。/食べられる
      ~を食べられます/食べられる
      〜を食べられる店/場所
      〜が食べられる店/場所
      When you want to emphasize what you can eat use が

      Exception
      you can say
      ★Someoneが〜を食べられる 
      but you can’t say
      ★ Someoneに〜を食べられる。
      You have to say
      ★Someoneに〜が食べられる

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