Presentation on theme: "MODALS EXPRESSING ABILITY. To say someone has an ability, use can, can’t, could, couldn’t, be able to and manage. in the present, use: can or am / is."— Presentation transcript:
MODALS EXPRESSING ABILITY
To say someone has an ability, use can, can’t, could, couldn’t, be able to and manage. in the present, use: can or am / is / are able to for things which are possible: Francesca can speak five languages, but she can’t speak Russian. She’s able to play the piano but she isn’t able to play the violin. can’t or am not / isn’t / aren’t able to for things which are not possible Note: We usually use can and can’t when speaking because they are shorter. in the past, use: could only when you are speaking in general: When I was a child, I could read without glasses. (not I was able to read without glasses) was / were able to when you are speaking about one particular occasion: Dad didn’t have any money on him, but fortunately he was able to use his credit card to pay the bill. (not he could use his credit card to pay the bill) couldn’t and wasn’t / weren’t able to when you are speaking in general and also when you are speaking about one particular occasion: Pascual wasn’t able to / couldn’t do all the questions in the maths exam. Olga couldn’t / wasn’t able to ride a bike till she was 18.
Use can only in the present and could only in the past. For perfect and future tenses, use able to: I’ve been very busy so I haven’t been able to finish reading the novel. When you finish the course, you’ll be able to speak English very well. Note: Remember the verb to be is not used in the continuous. Use be able to after an infinitive: She hopes to be able to study medicine when she goes to university. Use be able to after modal verbs (might, should, may, etc.): If I am free this weekend, I might be able to help you paint the house. When you’ve finished this course, you should be able to speak English very well. Use can and could with see, hear, smell, feel and taste From the top of the mountain we could see for more than 50 km. I can hear a strange noise coming from upstairs. Use manage when you succeed in doing something quite difficult to do: I know you’ve been busy, but did you manage to phone my mum? He managed to pass the exam although he was feeling ill when he did it. Remember could is only possible when speaking in general: He could pass the exam although he was feeling ill when he did it.