Can is a versatile word in English and has several uses. Let’s have a look at this word today.
We use can to talk about ability, and generally this ability comes after a certain amount of practice or repitition:
- Can you cook well?
- How many slices of pizza can you eat?
- Do you know if Jenny can sing?
We use can to talk about learned knowledge, and generally this knowledge comes after a certain amount of study:
- Can you speak Japanese?
- I think Chris can answer any type of grammar question.
- Do you know if Jenny can understand this math problem?
We use can to talk about having the opportunity to do something
- Tourists in NYC can experience so many things.
- In a university, you can meet many students from various countries.
- You can find all kinds of books in that shop.
We use can to express doubt or surprise about a situation
- The teacher spoke so fast. You can’t have understood him.
- Jane is three hours late. Where can she be?
- It can’t rain tomorrow! We are supposed to have a beach party.
We use can to express permission
- You can watch TV after you finish your homework.
- In some states, you can drive 65mph on the highway.
- Mom said I can have a second piece of chocolate cake.
We use can to make requests
- Can you help me with my homework?
- I’m thirsty. Can I have a cool drink?
- Can we take a break from studying now? I’m tired.
We use can to make a suggestion or offer
- We can take a break now if you’d like.
- Joe: What do you want to eat for dinner?
- Bob: We can order pizza!
- Joe: Or, we can go out and have a burger.
We also use can to talk about usual or typical situations
- Working long hours can be dangerous for your health.
- Be careful of that dog. He can be quite aggressive.
- Bosses and teachers can be quite demanding.
Do you know another way to use can? Leave a comment here and let me know.
If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them.
Thanks for studying today!