What Are Can and Could?
Two of the most common modal verbs in English are 'can' and 'could'. These verbs are used to talk about a variety of topics, including abilities, permission, and probability. 'Could' is used to express past ability or possibility.
Both 'can' and 'could' are widely used modal verbs in English, and they are used in different contexts. English speakers commonly use these modal verbs to express a range of meanings. Here are some of the most important uses of these two modal verbs:
- Talking About Ability
- Talking About Possibility
- Requesting Something
- Asking for or Giving Permission
Talking About Ability
We can use these modal verbs to talk about abilities in the present or in the past.
'Can' is used to talk about the abilities in the present moment.
As you can see, the sentence is about what he can do in the present moment.
'Could' is commonly used to talk about abilities or actions that were possible in the past but may not be possible in the present.
Here, the sentence is about how things were before.
When using 'can' or 'could', it's important to note that the verb that follows them is always in the simple form, regardless of whether the subject is singular or plural.
He could speak… →
Talking about Possibility
Both 'can' and 'could' can be used to make statements about the probability of an event in the present or future. Pay attention to the following examples:
With all these dark clouds, it
As you can see, the sentence is about the possibility of rain at the moment.
'Can' is sometimes used to make a request in informal situations, such as friendly conversations. However, it's important to note that using 'can' in this way is considered informal and may not be appropriate in more formal settings.
Remember to use 'could' to make a request in more formal settings.
Here, the request is being made in the present moment.
Asking for or Giving Permission
'Can' is commonly used to ask for or give permission in English. Carefully study the following examples:
Asking for permission