NOTE: The future of 'be able to' is 'will be able to. Did he give you permission to take that? In this topic, you will learn how to use the modal verb Can to express ability and informal permission. Use the modal verbs of permission, 'can,' or 'could,' to indicate whether someone has permission to do something or not. “CAN” is one of the most commonly used modal verbs in English. Modal Verbs CAN, Using and Example Sentences Ability He can speak five languages. May I use your computer? She begged permission to leave. He could swim when he was five. Permission – can, may, could 'Can' is most often used to ask for or give permission but 'may' and 'could' are also possible even though they are not used as often as 'can'. Possibility Smoking can cause cancer. Permission Can I use your bike? Can I sit here? However there are some other used of Can as we will see below.. 1. Use 'can' or 'be able to' to express an ability or possibility. CAN/COULD are modal auxiliary verbs. Do you mind if I use your phone? Can I take a look at your book? They can come on Friday. Can means to be (physically) able to do something OR to know how to do something.. When asking and giving permission in English, you can use below phrases and expressions: Asking for permission: Can I use your pen, please? 5. “CAN” is used with different meanings as a modal verb. MODAL VERBS —– “CAN” “CAN” is one of the most used modal verbs in English. Can I ask you a question? Use 'can' to say that someone IS allowed to do something and 'cannot' or, 'can't,' to say that they do NOT have permission (are not allowed) to do something. We use COULD to: a) talk about past possibility or ability b) make requests. 2. He asked permission to leave the room. Example sentences with the word can. Could in the past means the general ability to do something. Then, in the listening comprehension section, you will relate signs with meaning using Can for permission. May is the more formal word, and if you are at all concerned about being tut-tutted, a safe choice. In reality, can likely has more use in the “permission” sense than is recorded, as it is more informal and so shows up in speech more frequently than may does. To express ability. First, you will read an extract about real people with superhuman abilities and answer some questions about it. Offer Can I help you with this? They have permission to build 200 new houses. You will have to get official permission first. Both Can and Could are Modal Verbs. When we want to express permission, prohibition (not allowing something), obligation or no obligation we use modal verbs. How to use can in a sentence. 4. Birds can fly. He can play tennis well. Jack will be able to come next week. 3. In general Could is considered more polite (or formal) that Can.. CAN. Do you mind if I turn down the TV? She is able to speak five languages. 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