Modal verbs of Probability – must, might, may and could

Impossible (0%) Possible (50%) Only possibility (100%) can’t might may could must We use modal verbs of probability when we have thought about something and we say the possibility of something happening. We don’t know for a fact but, having thought about it we can say what we believe. Might, could and may all have the same meaning, namely that’s it’s possible. We use might and could more […]

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Could and to be able to

We use could to talk about general abilty in the past and we use to be able to or managed to to talk about a specific situation in the past. Examples So we say I could run fast when I was a child. because it is a general fact, but we say I was able to run five miles without stopping last night. or I managed to run five miles without stopping. because we are […]

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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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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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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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