MODAL VERBS —– “CAN”
“CAN” is one of the most used modal verbs in English. “Can” is an auxiliary verb ( modal auxiliary verb ).
It can be used to express;
General Structure of “CAN” in a Sentence
POSITIVE FORM (+) : Subject + CAN + Verb ( first form of the verb )
NEGATIVE FORM (-) : Subject + CAN + NOT ( CAN’T ) + Verb ( first form of the verb )
QUESTION FORM (?) : CAN+ Subject + Verb ( first form of the verb )
- I can play basketball. ( positive form )
- I can not ( can’t ) play basketball. ( negative form )
- Can I play basketball? ( question form )
Contraction for ” CAN NOT “;
can not –> can’t Ex: I can’t swim.
Using ” CAN “
1. It is used to express that someone is able to do something. ( Present Ability )
- I can speak four languages.
- She can drive a car.
- He can speak English fast.
- Fishes can swim.
2. It is used to express that something is possible. ( General Possibility )
- Alcohol can cause canser.
- They can stay with us when they come.
- You can buy tickets from the dealers.
3. It is used in a question, which is not a real question, to ask somebody to do something. We want somebody to do our request ( in an informal way, especially between friends or family ). ( Informal Request )
- Can you make me coffee?
- Can you hand me the pen?
- Can I have some tea, please?
4. It is also used to ask or give permission for something. ( Informal Permission )
- Can I use your book, please? ( ask for permission )
- If you want, you can go to the park. ( give permission )
- Can I ask you some questions? ( ask for permission )
- You can drive my bike. ( give permission )
5. It is used in offers to help someone or to do something for someone. ( Informal Offer )
- Can I help you?
- If they like, I can carry some bags for you.
- There is nothing left in the fridge. Can I do some shopping for you?
For ” CAN NOT”;
1. It is used in negative saying ( when we are sure that something is not true or something is surprising )
- That can’t be John. He is in America.
- It can’t be raining. The sun is shining and there are no rain clouds.
- You can’t be 50! You look young.
2. It is also used in negative saying ( when something is forbidden or not allowed )
- You can’t park the car there.
- They can’t wear jeans at work.
- You can’t go on without us.