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Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #5455: Modal verbs 2
Modal verbs 2
Can, could, and be able to, talking about ability.
A- We sometimes use be able to instead of can and could to talk about ability. However, we avoid be able to:
=> when we talk about something that is happening as we speak:
=> Before passives:
=> When the meaning is know how to:
B- If we talk about a single achievement, rather than a general ability in the past, we usually use be able to rather than could. Compare:
However, could is usually more natural:
=> In negative sentences:
=> With verbs of the tenses- e.g. feel, hear, see, smell, taste- and with verbs of thinking
e.g.believe,decide, remember, understand:
=> After the phrases the only thing/ place/ time, and after all when it means the only thing:
=> To suggest that something almost didn't happen, especially with almost, hardly, just, nearly:
Choose the correct or more natural answer.
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