The difference between 不可以 (bù kěyǐ) and 不准 (bù zhǔn)

In Chinese, both and zhǔn convey a sense of prohibition or restriction, but they are used in slightly different contexts.

  1. 不可以 (bù kěyǐ):
    • is more commonly used in everyday situations to indicate that something is not allowed or not permissible.
    • It is a general way of saying “not allowed” or “cannot.” It’s often used in a more informal context, such as when telling someone not to do something.Example: yānzàizhè. You are not allowed to smoke here.
  2. 不准 (bù zhǔn):
    • zhǔn is also used to express prohibition, but it tends to be used in a more authoritative or formal context. It implies a stricter or more official restriction.
    • 不准 is often used in rules, regulations, or instructions, and it may come across as a stronger prohibition compared to . For example: zhèzhǔnshèyǐng. “Photography is not allowed here.”

In summary, while both and zhǔn convey the idea of not being allowed to do something, is generally used in more informal settings, while zhǔn is often used in a more formal or authoritative context. However, the distinction is not always rigid, and in many cases, they can be used interchangeably depending on the context and the level of formality desired.

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