Permission – Can, Could, May

Can I go to the party?

When we ask for permission to do something we use can, could, may. May is the most formal. Examples Can I go to the party? Could I ask a question? May I sit here?   If we want to be more polite we can use the following construction: Do you mind if I base form of verb Do you mind if I open the window? Do […]

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Can

I can swim.

Can is a modal verb and so always has the same form: I can You can We can You can He can She can It can They can After can we use the base form of the verb. Examples: I can swim. She can speak Spanish. The negative form of can is can’t. We use can to talk about ability and permission. Ability They can drive. She can’t use a computer. Permission He can’t go to […]

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Difference between been and gone

Been is the past participle of the verb to go when the trip has finished: They have been to Brazil. This means that they went to Brazil some time in the past and they have finished their time there. Gone is the past participle of the verb to go when the trip hasn’t finished yet. John’s gone to work. This means that John is still at work. Look at the […]

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Asking someone to do something

When we ask somebody to do something for us we can use the following forms: Could you help me please? Can you lend me five euros, please? A more polite form has the following construction: Would you mind -ing form of verb Would you mind opening the window, please? Would you mind passing me the salt? Would you mind not smoking?

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Although/even though/despite/in spite of/though

When we want to say something positive and something negative in the same sentence, we can use one of the following forms: Although and even though have exactly the same meaning and have exactly the same grammatical construction. although/ even though subject verb subject + verb Although I am poor, I am happy. Although they played well, they lost. Even though she […]

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Agreeing and Disagreeing

Agreeing Look at these sentences: I like music. So do I. I live in California. So do I. This is the same as saying “Me, too“ but in British English especially this form is more common. Because the first sentence is in the present simple, the auxiliary verb is do: So Auxiliary verb Subject So do I Look at this sentence: I worked yesterday. So did I. The verb is in […]

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Adverbs of Frequency

When we want to say how often something is done, we can use an adverb of frequency. The adverb generally goes directly before the main verb and after the auxilary verb. Examples: I never go to the beach. They usually have dinner at 5pm. He hardly ever drinks coffee. They can always go out on Saturdays. If we want to specify how often something is done we use this […]

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Ability – can, could, to be able to

We use can and could to talk about ability. We use can in the present and could in the past. can She can play the guitar. Can you speak Spanish? They can’t ride a bike. could She could read when she was three. My grandmother could play the piano very well. They couldn’t come last year because of the bad weather. Can and could are modal verbs and so have no infinitive, gerund or past […]

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