How to Use Can or Could in a Sentence

How to Use Can or Could in a Sentence 



How to Use of Can Could



Use of Can and Could


Can and could are modal verbs. They are used with other verbs to express ability, possibility, permission etc. 

Where We Use 'Can' 


Expressing Ability:

Can is used to express ability resulting from physical power or capacity or from knowledge. 

Example:

I can ride a horse.  

He can speak three languages. 

Expressing Request:

Can is used to express polite form of request. 

Example: 

Can you lend me your book for a day. 
Can you help me in solving the situation. 

Expressing Permission:

Can is used to ask for or give permission. 

Example:

Can I come in now?
Can I join with you?


Can is used for present. We also use can for the future when we decide we are able to do something. 

Example:

We can go swimming tomorrow. 
You can come to see me tomorrow. 

We do not use Can with infinitive verb. 

Example:

We can play football today. 
Incorrect: We can to play football today. 

The negative form of Can is used as cannot (can't). 

Example: 

I am afraid that I cannot complete the task in time. 

Sometimes it is necessary to use (be) able to in place of Can. 

Example: 

He is over sixty but he is still able to read without glasses. 
Now she is able to speak English fluently. 

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Where We Use 'Could' 


Could is one of the modals. It is the past form of Can and is used to express possibility or ability

As past form of Can, Could is used to express ability. 

Example:

John said that he could get the tickets for us. 
At his top form, he could bowl at 100 miles per hour. 

Could is used to show what was possible in the past. 

Example:

He could cycle when he was four years old. 
He could buy any luxury car because he had plenty of money. 

Could is used in polite form to ask something or ask someone to do something. 

Example:

Could you find a better place for me? 
Could I ask a question? 

We use could for present or in the future. 

Example:

It's a nice day. We could go for a walk. 
When I shall go to London next week, I could stay with my uncle. 

We use could have to express past possibility. 

Example:

He could have done  better if he had tried hard. 

We use (be) able to in place of could in the past form. 

Example:

He was able to finish the work before he left the office. 

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