Lesson 28: CAN

Can is a modal verb. Lesson 27 shows you how to make correct sentences with it. This lesson shows you when you can use it.

Ability

GENERAL

EXAMPLES:
She can speak good English.
Kiwis are birds but they cannot fly.

NOTICE: cannot is one word

NOW

EXAMPLES:
Can
you hear me?
I can't see anything. It's dark.

FUTURE

EXAMPLE: I'm afraid I can't see you this week but I can next week.

NOTICE: also be able to (Lesson 36)


Possibility

GENERAL

EXAMPLE: Canada can be be very cold in the winter.

NOT POSSIBLE

EXAMPLES:
He can't be working now. It's much too late.
They can't have got lost. They know the way.

NOTICE: use must (Lesson 33) for strong probability


Permission

STATEMENT

EXAMPLES:
You cannot drive without a licence.
Passengers can smoke outside of the terminal.

NOTICE: more friendly than may (Lesson 30)

REQUEST

EXAMPLES:
Can
I borrow your pen?
Can I have the red one please?

NOTICE: could (Lesson 29) is more polite


Asking for help

EXAMPLES:
Can you give me a hand?
Can you tell me the time?

NOTICE: also could (Lesson 29); also will (Lesson 31)


Polite offers

EXAMPLES:
Can
I help you?
Can I get you some food?

NOTICE: also will (Lesson 31); also shall (Lesson 31)

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