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The Use Of Can, Could, Be Able To And Be Allowed To.

The Picture Is To Illustrate Can, Could, Be Able To

Can, Could And Be Able To: Ability.

Most times we make use of be able to instead of can and could to speak about ability. We don't use be able to -

*When we discuss about something that is happening, as we talk:

The Picture Is To Illustrate A Boy Standing On One Leg Before His Dad

'Watch me, Dad, I can stand on one leg.'

'Not watch me, Dad, I'm able to stand on one leg'.

*Before Passives

Films can now easily be flooded online. (Rather than films are now easily able to be flooded online.)

*When The Meaning Is 'Known How To'

√ Can you cook? (Rather than are you able to cook?)

*If We Talk About A Single Achievement, Rather Than A General Ability In The Past, We Usually Use Be Able To Rather Than Could. 


The Picture Is To Illustrate A Boy Playing Piano

√ Goodluck could play the piano very well (a specific achievement).

√ Or was able to play the piano very well (a general ability).

√ He Swam strongly and was able to cross the river easily; even though it was swollen by the heavy rain. (a general achievement)

Not she swam strongly and could cross the river easily;...... (a specific achievement)

However, could is usually more natural than be able to in


*Negative Sentences.

√ I tried to move my hands but I couldn't move them.

*With Verbs Of The Senses

For example, feel, hear, see, smell, taste, and with verbs of 'thinking', e.g. believe, decide, remember and understand.

√ I could remember the accident vividly well, but nothing after that.

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Use Of Can


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