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Using Auxiliary Verbs "Can" and "Could"

Today, let's talk about the use of the auxiliary verbs can and could. We all know how important it is to be able to talk about the ability or possibility of doing something in English.


Can and could; are auxiliary verbs that express a skill, authority, request, offer or opportunity.


Using Can and Could


The verb could is essentially the past tense of the verb can. However, as in type 2 conditional sentences, it has other functions that the word can does not.


Examples:

  • She can speak Italian very well.

  • He can speak Italian very well.

  • I could swim, but I couldn't ride a bike when I was nine years old.

  • When I was nine, I could swim, but I couldn't ride a bicycle.

  • You can play with Amy after you do your homework.

  • After you do your homework, you can play with Amy.

  • Could I have some tea?

  • Can I have some tea?

  • Can I carry your bags?

  • Can I carry your bags?

  • We could go somewhere tonight.

  • We can go somewhere tonight.

  • That can't be true.

  • This cannot be true.

  • You could get there in time if you hurried up.

  • If you'd hurry, you could have gotten there on time.

Can and could; It is also used to express verbs such as understand, remember, and verbs related to the senses (see, hear, feel, taste, smell, etc.) in terms of continuity.

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