Can and Could Grammar

Can and Could Grammar - Be Able to, Be Allowed to

"Can" is used to express ability or opportunity, to request or offer permission, and to show possibility or impossibility.

Examples:

  • can ride a Bike. ability
  • We can stay with my brother when we are in China.  opportunity
  • She cannot go out after 10 PM.  permission
  • Can you borrow me some money?  request
  • Any child can grow up to be politician.  possibility

We can use "Can" in Present, Past and Future.

Ability

Present

Examples:

  • I can speak English. (Positive Sentence)
  • I can't speak English. (Negative Sentence)
  • Can i speak English? (Interrogative Sentence)

 

Past

We use could in place of can when we talk about past abilities.

Examples:

  • I could speak English. (Positive Sentence)
  • I couldn't speak English. (Negative Sentence)

See also Could

Be Able To

We also use "Be Able To Do Something" to express ability.

Examples:

  • I am able to speak English.
  • I wasn't able to speak English.

 

Future

We use "be able to do something" for future ability.

Examples:

  • I will be able to speak English.
  • I won't be able to speak English.

 

Offer Or Permission

Present

Examples:

  • I can drive Ibrahim's car when she is out of city.
  • I can't drive Ibrahim's car when she is out of city.

 

Past

We use "Be Allowed To" for past.

Examples:

  • I was allowed to drive Ibrahim's car while he was out of city last week.
  • I wasn't allowed to drive Ibrahim's car while she was out of city last week.

 

Future

Examples:

  • I can drive Ibrahim's car while she is out of city next week.
  • I can't drive Ibrahim's car while she is out of city next week.

 

We can also use "MAY" in form.

Examples:

  • I may drive Ibrahim's car while she is out of city next week.
  • I mayn't drive Ibrahim's car while she is out of city next week.

See also May and Might

Opportunity

Present

Examples:

  • I have some free time. I can help you now.
  • I don't have any time. I can't help you  now.

 

Past

Examples:

  • I had some free time yesterday. I was able to help him at that time.
  • I didn't have time yesterday. I wasn't able to help him at that time.

 

Future

Examples:

  • I'll have some free time tomorrow. I can help you then.
  • I won't have any time later. I can't help you then.

 

Request

Present

Examples:

  • Can I have a glass of juice?
  • Can't I have a glass of water?

 

Past

Examples:

  • Can you give me a lift to college?
  • Can't you give me a lift to college?

Note: We also use "MAY" or "COULD" for polite request.

Examples:

  • Could  you give me a lift to college?
  • May i take a lift to college?

 

Possibility Or Impossibility

Present

Examples:

  • It could rain today.
  • It can't cost more than a dollar or two.

 

Past

Examples:

  • Learning a language can be a real challenge.
  • You can't be 45! I thought you were about 18 years old.

 

Note: We also use "COULD" for possibility or impossibility.

Examples:

  • It could rain today.

See also Could

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