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G.13 - Modals: Can

Can, could, be able to

Average: 3.3 (811 votes)

Here’s a refresher lesson on two modal verbs and ‘be able to’, which functions as one.
Lesson by Caroline Devane

Modal Verbs Practice

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Are you a pessimist or an optimist?

Average: 3.4 (17 votes)

Is this glass half empty or half full?

If you said “half empty” you are a pessimist.
If you said “half full” you are an optimist.

Are you a pessimist or an optimist? What do other people say about you? Do they agree with you?

Auxiliary Verbs

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Auxiliary verbs are the verbs which help the main verb and give extra meaning to it. For example:

"I have studied English for three years."

The auxiliary verb have changes the tense of the sentence to present perfect, so we know the activity is ongoing.

"I studied English for three years."

How to use Can't and Can't Have

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Can't is often used when we think that something is impossible at the present moment.

"Helen can't be in Spain because I saw her driving past my house this morning."

Can't have + past participle

Can't have + past participle is used when we are sure that something did not happen in the past.

How to use modal verbs

Average: 3.4 (118 votes)

Many people learning English find modal verbs confusing, especially their specific meanings. Here's a basic introduction to some modal verbs with examples.


Can is used in three ways. It is used to show that something is possible:

"You can come to the party if you want."

Can is also used when making a request or when asking for permission:


Average: 2.9 (14 votes)

Here we take a look at how to ask for permission, ask for something and ask someone to do something.

Asking for permission

When we are asking for permission to do something we can use the following expressions: