The verbs section is arranged differently than the other vocabulary lessons on this site. Instead of arranging words in terms of a theme, they will be arranged according to the type of object which they take.
The following verbs take a Verb Phrase as their objects. They can be considered helping verbs, or auxiliaries. When they do not take an object, they act as the main verbs of the sentence and their object is understood from previous context.
ke3 yi3 functions almost exactly like the English word "can" (with the exception that it does not become a noun meaning a cylindrical aluminum container). It can mean "able", as in "can you get up?" It can mean "willing", as in "can you pass me the salt?" It can mean "have permission", as in "can you come out and play?"
neng2 and neng2 gou4 function almost exactly the same in Mandarin. They can take the same objects.
hui4 acts much like the English word "will". It indicates future action or intent. It also has the meaning of "able to" (e.g. ni3 hui4 han4 yu3 ma? "Can you speak Mandarin?"). Yes, it can be ambiguous.
zhi1 dao4 refers to factual knowledge rather than procedural ability. In most cases it contrasts in meaning with ren4 shi.
ren4 wei2 means to think something, but has the connotation of supposition and is often used when explaining erroneous thinking.
xue2 is a special case in that it can take "xi2 " as its object and become compound verb that takes the same object that xue2 alone would take. So, instead of " xue2 su1 xue2 " (learn math) or " xue2 da3 qiu2 " (learn to play ball), you could say " xue2 xi2 su1 xue2 " or " xue2 xi2 da3 qiu2 " and it would mean the same thing. But to simply say "to learn" you would addxi2 as the default.
zhun3 bei4 does not need an object, even understood from context, although it generally does take one. When taking a noun phrase, it will often take VP as a direct object explaining what the preparation is for. These NP/VP combinations taken separately may form a grammatical sentence, but the meaning is changed from the original and so the sentence is not an object of the verb zhun3 bei4 .
lai2 is also a resultative complement, opposite in meaning as qu4
wan2 when followed by a VP means that the action being done is not taken seriously, or is done for fun. For example, in the example " wan2 da3 gong1 ", this would mean a person who does not need to work who takes a job because he or she wants to, or a person who takes a job but doesn't really care if he or she loses it.
jue2 de can mean either "to feel" or "to think" (like, 'I feel we need some time apart'). Note that jue2 de takes only Functive Verbs as the VP. In English these would be adjectives, but in Mandarin they act very much like verbs.
xiang3 means "to want to do something" and does not refer to wanting a noun. It can also mean "to think" something, as in "I think it will rain." It also has a second meaning "to miss" (as in, 'I miss you very much'). When it has this meaning, it takes an NP instead of a VP/S.
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