Can could be able to

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Can could be able to

  1. 1. Can, Could, Be able to modals
  2. 2. CAN Possibility Ability BE ABLE TO Can: All the tenses and forms -present e.g. I can play chess -future e.g. He can’t come to the party tonight Could: -past e.g. I couldn’t swim when I was 2. -conditional -E.g. If I could, I would help you.
  3. 3. You use CAN to describe an ability or speak about a possibility in the present.  Annie can swim, but she can't ride a bike.  Sorry, I can’t help you. You can also use BE ABLE TO to describe an ability or speak about a possibility in the present.  He's able to park a car, but he's not able to drive in traffic yet.  He’s crazy. He thinks he is able to stop time with his mind.
  4. 4. You use CAN to describe an ability or speak about a possibility in the present.  Annie can swim, but she can't ride a bike.  Sorry, I can’t help you. You can also use BE ABLE TO to describe an ability or speak about a possibility in the present.  He's able to park a car, but he's not able to drive in traffic yet.  He’s crazy. He thinks he is able to stop time with his mind. In the PRESENT, the only difference between CAN and BE ABLE TO, is that CAN is more common and BE ABLE TO is more formal.
  5. 5. Use COULD to describe a general ability or speak about a possibility in the past.  My father could speak five languages.  He couldn’t come to the party. Use WAS/ WERE ABLE TO if you are talking about what happened in a particular situation or speak about a possibility (this is more formal than can) in the past.  Jack and John played a tennis match yesterday and John was able to beat Jack.  He wasn’t able to come to the party.
  6. 6. But in the negatiave, you can use COULDN’T in both cases:  My father couldn’t swim.  I couldn’t read when I was 5.  There was a big fire and some people coulnd’t escape.  Yesterday Jack couldn’t beat John.
  7. 7. For forms and tenses other than present or past, you have to use BE ABLE TO.  We haven't been able to play tennis for a long time. (Present Perfect)  I won’t be able to be there tomorrow. (Future)  I’ve always wanted to be able to dance. (Toinfinitive)  She may be able to do it. (Infinitive without to after a modal verb)  Not being able to sleep properly changes your life radically. (Infinitive –ing)  etc.
  8. 8. Fill in the blanks with the correct form of “can” or “be able to” 1. Last week I _________________(go) swimming, but this week I can’t. COULD GO / WAS ABLE TO GO 2. Maybe the Smiths ________________ (buy) a house next year. WILL BE ABLE TO BUY 3. I love _________________(stay) in bed late on Sunday morning. BEING ABLE TO STAY / TO BE ABLE TO STAY 4. I’d like ___________ (ski). TO BE ABLE TO SKI 5. Paul _____________ (speak) French fluently. CAN, IS ABLE TO (formal) 5. Mary _________________ (swim) since she was 3. HAS BEEN ABLE TO SWIM

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