Uses of Can and Could

Can and Could Examples and Exercises

Can is used as a Principal verb to express

  • Power or ability; as,

I can speak English. [=1 am able to speak English.]

He can work this machine.

He can outdo every competitor.

I can beat you in the race.

He is over eighty but can still read without glasses.

He is ten years old but can’t read yet.

Can you write English? No, I can’t.

Even as a child she could sing well.

The box was so heavy that I couldn’t lift it.

He could write English before he came to school.

I could write the letter in English if I wanted to.

I could have written the letter in English if I had wanted to.

I could not write English before I came to school.

Can is also used to denote ability resulting from circumstances. Can you come [= Are you in a position to come] to the meeting tomor­row?

Can you lend me ten shillings? [= Are you in a position to lend me ten shillings?]

Uses of Can and Could 1

  1. Permission; as,

You can go now, [= You are permitted to go now.]

Stop! You can’t do that! [= You are not allowed or permitted to do that.] You can’t play hockey in that park today! It’s Sunday.

Can I go to the cinema tonight? No, you can’t.

Can I see your telephone directory?

Could you lend me five pounds for a week?

Could I have that dictionary, please?

Uses of Can and Could 2

Anomalous Finites Exercises

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