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  5. "Zij kan fietsen."

"Zij kan fietsen."

Translation:She can bike.

October 15, 2014



"She can cycle" makes more sense to me. People don't say "I bike" very often.


Why is this "she" and not "they"? I think the fact that it's "fietsen" and not"fietst" threw me off.

  • Zij kan fietsen (she can ride a bike)
  • Zij kunnen fietsen (they can ride a bike)

Same as here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5020220. The persoonsvorm (finite verb) is different depending on the subject.


I see. Thank you for answering all my many questions. Very helpful.


Look at the verb "kunnen". Ze kan... = She can... Ze kunnen = They can...


kan and kunt....what is their diffrence?

  • Kan - 1st or 3rd person singular or second person singular (informal)
  • Kunt - 2nd person singular (formal)


'kunt' can also be used with the second person singular informal in inversions:

kan je - je kan

kun je - je kunt

kunt u - u kunt


Thank you! :)


Zij kan fietsen = she can cycle Zij kunt fietsen = she wants to cycle


No sorry, "zij kunt fietsen" is incorrect.

She wants to cycle = zij wil fietsen


"Bike" as a verb is not very elegant. I like "ride a bike" or "ride a bicycle" (more formal)

  • 1036

'bike' is not properly a verb. Bike is a noun. You RIDE a bike. So 'She can bike' is like saying 'She can skipping rope'.


It is both a verb and a noun: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/bike. The usage differs between different English speaking countries, so it is possible that it is not used in your country.


Deb, "bike" as a verb is in my 1992 American Heritage dictionary -- 27 years ago.

Of course, you are free in your own speech to say "ride a bike" instead, which is also perfectly fine.

  • 1036

Except it isn't. There are multiple cases where Duo only accepts the answer if I use bike where it should be 'ride'.


As an Australian speaker, I would always use 'ride' as well, but Duo doesn't like it, and I find 'bike' clunky, so I use 'cycle' instead, which I've never had any trouble with in these exercises.


Please report them when you find them


What's the meaning of Kan in this case? Being able to bike or having the skill as in english?


I think what you mean to ask is, is this about having skill/ability, or having permission?

The answer is that this is an isolated sentence in a language learning program. Absent any other clues, we should translate "kan" as "can".

Strictly speaking, that means you are asking about skill or ability, not permission, which in English would be (strictly speaking) "May she ride a bike?"


"kan" means "can", "being able to", this means both having the skill AND being able to.

If someone doesn't know how to ride the bike, they 'can't' bike anyway, if they know how to then asking "kan" is asking for other possible obstructions. You might not be able to cycle because there's not enough time and you have to go by car, because your bike is broken or because you have an injury.

When asked in general "kan zij fietsen" it might be understood as 'does she know how to cycle'. If you know that someone knows how to but you want to know about the circumstances, you can add some indication of time: "kan zij vanavond fietsen? (Als het donker is)" or "kan ze nu weer fietsen? (Nu haar been uit het gips is)".

For having permission we use "mogen" - "zij mag fietsen" (the doctor cleared her, her parents are okay with cycling in the dark, whatever).


Audio is messed up on this one, the fast audio clearly says "Zij KanT fietsen". Reported.


You need to know that BIKE (Bicycle) is a noun and CYCLE (or To Cycle) is a verb.


The word "bike" can also be a verb, at least in standard American English. For example, it is listed as such in the 1992 American Heritage dictionary.


'BIKE' can also be a verb, just not used as such much in American or British English. But obviously we all know 'biker' as a noun, which proves we know 'bike' can be a verb.


She can bike is not correct English. To bike is not a verb. She can ride a bike, would be better


All my U.S. dictionaries, some of them 30 years old, list "to bike" as a verb.


I agree with Nicola because it is the same in Australia. However, there is enough US influence from the tv etc. for the younger ones to go biking. The rest of us go cycling, we never 'bike'.


Cycling is really more common and easier to remember than "I can bike"

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