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Ability

By Frank Stone,2014-06-10 01:59
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Ability

Ability

    We use 'can' and 'could' to talk about a skill or ability.

For example:

    ; She can speak six languages.

    ; My grandfather could play golf very well

    ; I can't drive

    Present:

    can / can’t (for both general and specific ability)

    ; I can play the piano.

    ; She can speak English.

    ; He can’t drive – he’s too tired.

    ; We can’t come now.

    Past:

    could / couldn’t (for general ability)

    ; I could read when I was four.

    ; She could speak French when she was a child, but now she has forgotten it.

    ; He couldn’t dance at all until he took lessons.

    ; My grandfather couldn’t swim.

    was able to / couldn’t (for specific ability)

    ; When the computer crashed yesterday, I was able to fix it.(not ‘I could fix it’)

    ; She was able to pass the exam, even though she hadn’t studied much.(not ‘she could

    pass’)

    ; He called us because he couldn’t find the house.

    ; I couldn’t open the window.

    Permission

    We can use verbs such as 'can', 'could' and 'may' to ask for and give permission. We also use modal verbs to say something is not allowed.

For example:

    ; Could I leave early today, please?

    ; You may not use the car tonight.

    ; Can we swim in the lake?

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