by Don  

The word нельзя means “it is forbidden”. In this sense it is used with imperfective verbs:

Нельзя говорить по-французски на занятиях русского языка. You aren't allowed to speak French in Russian class.
В библиотеке нельзя говорить громко. Speaking loudly in the library isn't allowed.

If you mention the person who is not allowed to do something, that person goes in the dative case:

Сынок, сколько раз я говорил, что тебе нельзя материться? Son, how many times have I told you that you are not allowed to swear?
Женя, твоим друзьям нельзя курить в квартире. Скажи им, чтобы они вышли на балкон. Evgeni, your friends aren't allowed to smoke in the apartment. Tell them to go out on the balcony.

Нельзя can also mean “it is impossible”. In that sense it is used with perfective verbs:

Нельзя открыть окно. Оно прибито гвоздями. You can't open the window. It's nailed shut.
Жанне нельзя будет включить мотор. Я вынул аккумулятор. Zhanna won't be able to start the motor. I took out the battery.
Нельзя понять непонимаемое. You can't understand the incomprehensible.
Нельзя переварить картон... если только ты не хомяк. You can't digest cardboard... unless you're a hamster.

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