Can,Could,Be able to
Hi everyone! I’m Angie from speakingenglish.co.il!
I can go to the cinema.
I am able to go to the cinema.
I could have gone to the cinema.
What is the difference between these three sentences?
Can, could, be able to.
That’s what we are going to be reviewing today. The difference of can, could, be able to, and when to use them. Can and could are modal verbs. Remember, modal verbs express possibility or necessity. Be able to is not, a modal verb but I am including it in this video because it is used it is sometimes used interchangeable with can…
Let’s start with can:
We use can when talking about the present or about a decision of an ability in the future.
When we talk about possibility or ability, asking for permission or making requests
I can go to the cinema. Going to the cinema is a possibility.
Can I go to the cinema? In this example, I am asking for permission.
Subject + can (auxiliary/helping verb) + verb (infinitive)
Only one form of can. It doesn’t change. Unless you use it in the negative form, can’t.
BE ABLE TO:
Is used to express ability.
Subject + to be (main verb) + able (adjective) + infinitive with to
I am able to cook. I will be able to cook. They are able to drive. They will be able to drive.
Used in any tense. When talking about the future, use ‘will be able to’
Subject + could (auxiliary/helping verb) + verb (infinitive)
Like can, could doesn’t change. Unless you use it in the negative form, couldn’t.
Used to talk about the past.
When I was younger, I could understand Greek. This is an ability in the past. I no longer can understand Greek.
We use could when talking about an ability in the past, can when talking about the present and it is usually used interchangeably with to be able to. It is more common for native speakers to use can instead of to be able to.
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