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ID number:724748
Published: 11.11.2009.
Language: English
Level: Secondary school
Literature: n/a
References: Not used

Can, could
We use can:
to say that something is possible or allowed
something has the ability to do smth.
can + infinitive (can do)
example: I can come and see you tomorrow if you like.
the negative is can’t (can not)
example: I’m afraid i can’t come to the party on Friday.
Present – can
Past – could
Future --------
We use could:
especially with words:
see hear smell taste feel
remember understand
example: As soon as I walked into the room, I could smell gas.
to say that somebody had the general ability or permission to do smth.
example: My grandfather could speak 5 languages.
the negative is couldn’t (could not)
example: Pate played well, but he couldn’t beat Mike.
Sometimes we need to use (be) able to
but can has only 2 forms:
Can (present) and could (past), so sometimes it’s necessary to use (be able to).
Tom can come tomorrow.
Tom might be able to come tomorrow.
usage of can is more usual than able to.
we use could for general ability; but if you want to say that smb. did smth. in a specific situation, use was/were able to or manage to (not could)
example: we didn’t know were Anna was, but we manage to find/were able to find her in the end. (not could find)
the negative couldn’t is possible in all situations.…

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