¡Ya sale el segundo video de nuestra profesora Addie!
Esta semana vamos a hablar de la diferencia entre “can” y “could”.
Hello, this is English explained with Addie, I am Addie. I am here to help you with any of your English language curios, give you grammar and pronunciations tips and get you to your own way to become fluent in English. This video is about auxiliary verbs “can” and “could”, when and how to use them and couple of questions in the end to make sure that it is ok.
1. We use “can” to express an ability (to be able to do something).
Example: using “can” to express ability:
- I can speak Spanish (Something that this person is able to do);
- Can you reach the ceiling? (Is this person able to reach/ to touch the ceiling?);
- I can bake cakes (This person is able to bake cakes).
2. We use “can” to ask for permission.
Example: using “can” to ask for permission:
- Can I use your pencil (You are asking if this person will allow us to use this pencil);
- Can I go home now? (You are asking for permission to be able to leave where you are to go home);
- Can I change the channel? (You are asking everybody who is around you if it is ok if you change the channel)
3. We use “can” to make requests of suggestions.
Example: using “can” to make requests of suggestions:
- Can I have a knife? (You are asking if it is possible for you to have a knife. You are not asking for permission, you are just asking: Can I have it?);
- Can I have another piece of paper? (Is it possible?);
- You can eat whatever you want (It’s a suggestion);
- You can take the last slice of bread if you want (Another suggestion).
Now we are moving on to “could”. “Could” is the past form of “can”.
1. We can use it to describe an ability that someone had in the past.
Example: “could” describe an ability that someone had in the past:
- I could cycle when I was young (This person was able to cycle in the past when he/she was young);
- You could hear the lady shouting (Meaning that is was possible to hear the lady shouting. Maybe a neighbor in the next door was shouting and it was physically possible to hear her);
- I could tell that she was exited (Meaning that it was visible and it was able to be seen that this person was exited, maybe from the smile on the face or maybe from the exited energy).
2. We can use “could” in auxiliary functions to express permission politely.
Example: often used in auxiliary functions to express permission politely:
- Can I borrow your coat? (You are not really asking for permission, because it’s possible for you to do it. The question is does this person mind you doing it)
- You could have my umbrella if you would like (You are making the suggestion or you are permitting them to have your umbrella)
- Could I offer you a drink? (You are asking: Will you allow me to offer you a drink?)
3. We can use “could” to express possibility.
Example: using “could” to express possibility:
- You could all come with me if you would like (Meaning that they can all come in the car and you could take them, you don’t mind, you are allowing it. It is a possibility);
- They could play the game before they leave (There is enough time for everyone to play before they leave, it is possible. But it may happen or may not, it is a possibility);
- Could he be lying? (Is it possible that this person could be lying?)
- His hair color could be natural (It could be natural, but we are not definite, maybe it is not).
Now we are just going to have a quick test to have a look and see if you understood everything.
1. Just to confirm, ___ you come to my house tomorrow?
Meaning that the person was asked before and now they are double checking if this person will go or not.
So, the answer is CAN. It is a conformation.
2. I ___ cook 5 different types of muffin.
The answer is CAN. The reason is that it means I am able to cook 5 different types of muffin.
3. I ___ run really fast when I was young, but now I am very slow.
“Can” will be in the present, “could” would suggest the past tense and “will” would suggest the future tense. So the answer here is COULD.
Thanks for listening! That’s all for now!
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