CAN | COULD | BE ABLE TO - ENGLISH GRAMMAR

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Hi guys! I'm Arnel, and today we're  going to look at CAN COULD BE ABLE TO.  

Can and Could - these two words are  like a giant umbrella because they  

cover so many different things. We have abilitypossibility, permission, suggestions, requests,  

offers. So we're going to look at all of  these and I'll speak about 'be able to' here  

and there. Before we get started with all of  this, we need to look at two important things.

Can and Could are modal verbs. Can and Could  can be confusing because they often mean the  

same thing. The differences are between past and  present, informal and formal, strong and weak.  

In English we have - can could  may might must would will  

should and shall. Modal verbs are like a special  verb club because they have their own rules.  

First, modal verbs are always followed by that  bare infinitive. The bare infinitive is verb  

number one, without TO. give gave given, 'giveis my verb number one. I could dance all night.  

I could dancing. I could to dance. He could  dances. Even if your subject is he she or it,  

we use that bare infinitive. He could dances  - he could dance. Let's look at the negatives.

As you can see the full forms cannot  could not are mainly used in writing  

.If you're speaking, just contract: can't  

couldn't. And you can see, cannot is written  as one word and could not as written as two.

can can can - these are the strong forms you can  hear these are very full, very clear but normally  

when we're speaking naturally it sounds like we're  completely removing that vowel sound. cn. I can do  

it. I cn do it .You can do it. You can do it. We  can do it. So in this lesson you might hear me say  

CAN if I'm trying to be very clear but you'll  also hear me say cn if I'm speaking quickly.

can't can't can't

Could. Notice the L is silent - could  could couldn't couldn't couldn't

Okay let's move on to the uses. So here on the  side you can see, I have all the different uses  

for can and could. And I know it might lookbit small, but don't worry this is just so we  

can organize the lesson. Let's begin with  ability. Ability is our skills our talents.

Present: I can run 15 miles. I can't run 15 milesCan you run 15 miles? Do you can run 15 miles?

What's the past of can? CouldWhen I was a teenager, I  

could run 15 miles. I couldn't run 15 miles. Could  you run 15 miles? Did you could run 15 miles?  

Okay and I'm sure we've all had this  experience on Skype or Zoom. Hi,

can you hear me? Can you see me? Yeah i can  hear you, I can see you. Everything is clear.  

Now i can't hear you...

and now she's she's frozen. Again ability. Can and  could are not only for people, we can use them for  

things as well. Container ships can carry a lot  of cargo. Container ships can't move on land.

Old cell phones couldn't take pictures. I  mean, they they couldn't really do anything  

and that looks like my first phone. Well  

actually, this was my first phone. It  was great, I never had any problems.

So we have present ability past ability. What  about be able to? Be able to gives us more  

flexibility and it means the same thing as can and  could. It has the same meaning. Let's take a look.

Will you be able to fix this? Being  able to speak two languages is useful.  

I would like to be able to sing. You can  see here 'be able to' gives me more options.  

I can use be able to with will. Will  you can fix this? That doesn't work.  

Canning to speak two languages.. canning speak  two languages... that doesn't work. I would like  

to can sing. So normally we use can and could  to speak about our abilities and the abilities  

of different things, but you can see here be  able to can give you more options grammatically

We can't move on to possibility yetLet's get a little bit more specific.

We know could is used for past abilities.  

Here is one of my earlier examples: When I was  a teenager I could run 15 miles no problem.  

Here I'm talking about ability in general, things  I could do in the past whenever I wanted to.  

I could run 15 miles in the morning, in the  afternoon, in my sleep haha! But if someone  

had the ability to do something one time in an  affirmative sentence use a different expression.

A man was trapped under a car and a young  boy was able to lift the car to free the man.  

Wow. a=A young boy managed to lift the car  ...good. A young boy could lift the car.  

Not so natural. Let's compare again  - general past ability: 15 years ago  

I could speak German. I could speak German in  the morning, in the afternoon, in my sleep.  

One time past ability: We all worked together  and were able to finish the homework early. Yes.  

Managed, we all worked together and  managed to finish the homework early. Good.  

...could finish the homework  early. Not so natural.

Possibility. stronger  possibility /weaker possibility.  

Can Could. Both of them refer to the presentIf we want to speak about the future,  

we normally use could. So in this  case COULD is not about the past.

Do you need me? I can be at your house  in 30 minutes - strong possibility.

What is this supposed to be? I don't  know, it it could be a painting of  

the ocean, maybe. You can see - weaker  possibility. You're on the phone: Hello, I'd like  

to cancel the tickets I have to the performance  on the fifth. Okay, I can give you a full refund  

or I can give you a gift card to use at a later  date. You can see here - two possibilities.

I don't want to put any cream on my rash  because it could get worse. I'm not a doctor.  

This is a maybe. What's a rash? A rash isred mark you get on your skin because of some  

some type of irritation. You don't  want a rash nobody, wants a rash.

That ham sandwich can't be Elena's. She'svegetarian - impossible. Earlier in the lesson  

I said: Can and could can be confusing because  they often mean the same thing .We often use can  

for strong possibilities because they are true  in general and because of personal experience.  

Holidays like Christmas can be stressful.

So you can see COULD is is softer, it'slittle weaker. That's why we use could for  

suggestions. We use could because we're suggesting  something, we're not demanding something.

I don't know what to do  with all these old clothes.

You could donate them.

I hate sitting next to the AC. I get so  cold. We could switch desks, I don't mind.  

Mini review: can present abilitycould past ability, be able to both,  

a little bit more flexible. Can stronger  possibility, could weaker possibility, could  

suggestions. Now I'm sure some of you are  thinking: What about past possibilities?  

Sabrina could have gone home. Oh no, I could have  deleted that email by mistake. could have plus  

past participle. The past participle is verb  number three. Could have go, could have went,  

no could have gone. Gone is my past participleHere i mean maybe this happened in the past.  

You can see I'm not so sure. I'm 50% sure. You  could have been killed! Never cross the street  

looking at your phone. I could have gone  to the party, but I decided to stay home.  

Could have plus past participle. Here I mean this  was a past possibility, but it did not happen.  

This person wasn't killed by a car, but it  was a possibility. I didn't go to the party,  

but it was a possibility. So two meanings. Could  have + past participle. One: something that  

maybe happened in the past.. Two: something  that didn't happen, but was a possibility.  

And in the negative - I don't think that's  true. I heard Lena called me fat. What?  

She couldn't have said that. Lena is the nicest  person I know. Okay, if you want to know more  

about past modal verbs, I have a video which  covers all of them. I'll put the link here...

.. or is it here? I've never added a link  to a video so somewhere around here there  

should be a link. Let's move on to permissionPermission - you're asking someone: Is this okay?  

In terms of rules and laws? Child to mom: Canhave some chocolate? Yes you can, No you can't.  

Student to teacher: Can we use our phones  in class? Yes you can, no you can't.

CAN, kind of like possibility, it's stronger and  it's more informal. So can is not rude, it's not  

impolite, it's just very casual. How do we make  this a little bit more formal? Change it to could.  

Imagine you go to someone's house for the first  time. Could I use your bathroom? Yes, you could.

Yes you could. When we give permission or  refuse permission we use can and can't. Could  

I use your bathroom? Yes you can, no you can'tImagine you message your boss and you write:  

Could I leave work early on  Wednesday? Yes you can, no you can't.  

Okay normally when we refuse permission we don't  say 'no you can't'. It's grammatically correct,  

but it's very direct we would usually  explain why something isn't allowed.  

Excuse me, can I take this chair? Sorry  I need it. No I'm afraid it's taken.  

We would be a little bit softer We  wouldn't really say 'no you can't'.  

I can't play that game. This could mean abilityI can't play that game. It's in Spanish. I can't  

speak Spanish. This could mean possibility - I  can't play that game. I need a password. I don't  

have a password. It's not possible. This could  also mean permission - I can't play that game.  

My mom says I'm too young. I have to wait until  I'm 13. So if you're reading something or if  

you're watching a movie and you hear can or coulddon't just focus on that one sentence .Look at  

everything around it and this will really help  you. Great, let's keep going. Let's move on to  

offers, and I think by this point  you might already know the rules.  

Can and could, which one can  I use for a stronger offer?  

Can. Which one for a kind of weaker, softer  offer? Could. That's right. Can I help you?  

You look really busy. I wasn't at the meeting  yesterday. Is there anything I need to know?  

Oh i can send you the minutes. I think  there are a few things you need to look at.

Minutes? What are minutes? Of course you know  one minute is 60 seconds. But minutes in a  

business sense are the notes someone writes during  a meeting. You can see in this picture the lady is  

taking minutes. Today Janine is taking minutesWhose turn is it to take minutes next week?  

Minutes are useful because of course they  can be saved and emailed to everyone. Usually  

only one person in a meeting takes minutes. A bit  softer, a bit weaker - I could water your plants  

for you while you're on vacation. Great, last  one, last one there: requests. Informal? Formal?  

Can or could? Which one do you think is  informal? Can you close the window please?  

Can you mail this letter for meCould you possibly send me the link?

Wow there's been a lot of information in  this lesson so I'm going to end with a joke.  

Student: Excuse me, Mr WilsonCan I go to the bathroom?

I don't know. Can you? Okay, so this joke  is very silly, it's very immature, isn't it?  

Let me explain it, and this  can be used in any situation  

:Can I go to the bathroom? Can I ask youquestion? Can I use your phone? The first  

person is using can in terms of permissionCan I go to the bathroom? The second person  

is joking and is translating can into ability, as  in do you have the ability to go to the bathroom?

So if you didn't like this joke, it's not  my joke. But i hope you liked this video,  

I hope it was useful. Thank you very much for  watching and I'll see you next time. Byyyyeeee!!!