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◉The difference between [見られます] and [見えます], [聞けます] and [聞こえます]

◉The difference between [見られます] and [見えます], [聞けます] and [聞こえます]

You may learn in your lesson “見(み)られます(potential verb)” as “can see, watch”!

⇨動物園(どうぶつえん)で 象(ぞう)が 見(み)られます。🐘

(We can see elephants at the zoo.)

Also, you may have learned “見(み)えます” as “be seen, visible” in your lesson.

⇨窓(まど)から 富士山(ふじさん)が 見(み)えます。🗻

(We can see Fujisan from the window.)

It looks similar but what is the difference between “見られます” and “見えます”?🧐

Also, do you know when to use “聞(き)けます(potential verb)” and “聞(き)こえます”?🧐

一緒(いっしょ)に チェックしましょう:)

Let’s find out together in this post:)

1. 「見られます」「聞けます」

「見られます」means “can see, can watch”, and indicates that one’s intention of seeing can be realized.

テレビが なくても、スマホで ドラマが 見(み)られます。

(We can watch the drama on our smartphones even if we don’t have a TV.)

Netflixで 色々(いろいろ)な 日本(にほん)の アニメが 見(み)られます。📺

(We can watch various Japanese anime on Netflix.)

仕事(しごと)で サッカーの 試合(しあい)が 見(み)られませんでした。⚽️

(I couldn't watch the football match because of work.)

「聞けます」means “can listen to”, and indicates that one’s intention of listening can be realized.

YouTubeで 音楽(おんがく)が 聞(き)けます。🎵

(We can listen to the music on Youtube.)

この レストランで ジャズが 聞(き)けます。🎹

(We can listen to jazz at this restaurant.)

You can use 「見られます」「聞けます」to express potential situations only when you intentionally see, watch and hear something.

2. 「見えます」「聞こえます」

「見えます」means “be seen, visible” and indicates that a certain object comes into one’s sight (is visible) regardless of one’s will. So, it is used when you describe things that are perceived as they are.

新幹線(しんかんせん)から 富士山(ふじさん)が 見(み)えます。

(We can see Fujisan from the Shinkansen.)

ここから 東京(とうきょう)タワーが 見(み)えます。🗼

(We can see Tokyo tower from here.)

「聞こえます」means “can be heard, be audible” and indicates that indicates a certain object comes into one’s ear (is audible) regardless of one’s will as similar to 「見えます」

鳥(とり)の 声(こえ)が 聞(き)こえます。🦜

(We (can) hear birds singing.)

波(なみ)の 音(おと)が 聞(き)こえます。🌊

(we (can) hear the sound of waves.)

How to use 「見られます / 聞けます」and「見えます / 聞こえます」depends on the situation

EX-1) When you’re struggling to see the words, you can say

すみません、字(じ)が 小(ちい)さくて、見(み)えません。

(Sorry, the writing is small, so I can’t see it.)

You can’t use “見られます” in this situation.

すみません、字(じ)が 小(ちい)さくて、見(み)られません。

EX-2) When you can’t hear the sound when you try to answer a listening question, you can say

すみません、音(おと)が 小(ちい)さくて、聞(き)こえません。

(Sorry, the sound is small, so I can’t hear it.)

You can’t use “聞けます” in this situation.

すみません、音(おと)が 小(ちい)さくて、聞(き)けません。

It is more natural to use「見えません」「聞こえません」in these situations since you try to describe the things that received as they are.

どうでしたか。(how’s my explanation?)

ぜひ授業(じゅぎょう)で 使(つか)ってみてくださいね:)

I hope you enjoy learning and talking Japanese!🙌


Tomo Japanese Language School


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