話せます and 話します

What is the difference?

December 24, 2017


Well, for starters, both are different inflections of the verb 話す, which means "To speak". The first one you typed, 話せます, is the potential form with polite ending, meaning " can speak". The second one, 話します, is exactly the same as 話す ("To speak"), only using the polite ending ~ます.


  • I speak Japanese. = 私は日本語を話す (standard)
  • I speak Japanese. = 私は日本語を話します (polite ending)
  • I can speak Japanese. = 私は日本語を話せます (potential form, polite ending)

Also, the potential form without using the polite ending would be 話せる。

  • I can speak Japanese. = 私は日本語を話せる (potential form, no polite ending)
December 24, 2017

WHy 日本語を And not 日本語が ?

November 2, 2018

Can someone answer this?

June 18, 2019

話します means “speak”, and 話せます means “can speak” or “is able to speak “

December 24, 2017


December 24, 2017

どういたしまして。You can use the same principle to change any verb from its do into can do form, which is also known as the potential form. Click here to read more about the topic.

December 24, 2017
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