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Modal : can/could
'Can' is a modal auxiliary.
It does not take an 's' in the present tense:
she can/he can
The past tense is 'could'.
You use it like an auxiliary in the interrogative and negative forms:
can you...? / he can't / he cannot
It has no infinitive form, 'to can' does not exist.
It has no participle.
If you want to use it in a tense which is not present or past you have to use
'to be able to'
He will be able to run
He has been able to run
Notice that you sometimes can say :
'He is able to' instead of 'he can'
'He was able to' instead of 'he could'
'Can' is used to express :
He can run for hours
He can swim
He can open the window
Can I go out Mum?
It is used with some verbs (to hear,to feel,to smell,to see)
He can hear the birds He can see his dog He can feel a spider on his arm With a past infinitive: can or could What can have happened here ?
He can see his dog
He can feel a spider on his arm
With a past infinitive: can or could
What can have happened here ?
He can't have done such a thing !
He could have fallen !
He could have told me that !
Exercise: choose the right verb.
English exercise "Modal : can/could" created by lucile83 with The test builder
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