口 vs. 嘴巴

  1. What is the difference between 口 and 嘴巴?

  2. Why does this sentence 希望我们很快可以再见 use 可以 but not 能? I thought the usage of 可以 is to ask for allowance, while 能 is to show ability? Hopefully, we can (are able to) see each other again soon?


March 21, 2018


1.) In my experience I use 嘴巴 more often than 口. Although you can find instances of people using 口 in general conversation, I feel like it is more literary, and more often used in Chinese idioms( ie. 口干舌燥,病从口入,等). In many instances 嘴巴 usually seems to refer to the outside of the mouth, the part that you see, while 口 refers to your entire mouth including the inside, although many Chinese don't even recognize this distinction. Many will use the two interchangeably, so needless to say you will be understood regardless of which one you use.

2.) In the second sentence the reason they use 可以 is to say "I hope we CAN meet again" as oppose to "I hope we are able to meet again". Even in English the difference between can and able to is hard to articulate, some may use them interchangeably.

In Chinese it is much the same way, though the impression I get from the sentence above is that using 可以 seems to imply "I hope that, if you are willing, we can meet again". Using 能 seems to imply that "I hope that, if our schedules cooperate, we are able to meet again". 可以 seems to have an element of "choice" to it, while 能 seems to be less about choice and more about physical ability.

March 21, 2018
  • 1526

Your comment deserves arguments rather than downvotes. +1 for you.

I'm native and I think 口 is more related to the shape and cavity of the mouth. 嘴巴 usually refers to the whole mouth, including the lips and skin (face) outside, sometimes just the lips as in 小嘴巴 and 红嘴巴. So we mostly agree. (Edit: oh, not mostly)

March 22, 2018
  • 1526

To know more about 可以, please see 能 covers basically all meanings and usages of 可以 described in that post.

March 22, 2018

Thank you for the Link!

March 22, 2018

嘴巴refers to lips and tongue,while 口usually refers to the whole part of ones mouth.

March 21, 2018
  1. 口 is just quite a short way to say 嘴巴。 sometimes we prefer to say more than two character to make a word sound clearer. Here are some examples which relate to open or close one's mouth: 開口唱歌/開口大笑:(to open one's mouth and) sing / laugh、 閉口不談:to zip up one's mouth, not to talk about sth、 閉嘴:to shut up one's mouth -[informal]、 and however, while I point to my mouth, I would say 「這是嘴巴」instead of「這是口」

  2. I could not explain it well but I would say if you add 夠 behind 能 might make more sense to me. 「希望我們很快能夠再見」

March 24, 2018

I think 嘴巴 is more colloquial, people often just refer to their mouths like 我的嘴巴, while 口 is used for more formal situations and literature.

March 23, 2019

Related Discussions

Learn Chinese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.