Learn English Online

Unit 10 - Lesson 47
Can and Can't - Ability



cannot / can't
Photo by elsie Photo by Mike Warren
Birds can fly.
Horses can't fly, but they can run very fast.


The modal verb can for ability


Positive Form + (can)

Negative Form - (cannot or can't)

Question Form ? (can / can't)


I can speak German quite well.
I can't speak Chinese.

Can you speak English?

Can't you find the practice forum?


Can becomes could.

I could only speak English when I was a child.

Cannot or can't become could not or couldn't.

I couldn't speak any German when I came here.

Can or can't become could or couldn't.

Could you have taken German lessons before you came here?

Couldn't you get any help with your German when you arrived?


Can becomes to "be able to "

I will be able to speak German fluently by the time I leave Germany.

Cannot or can't become will not be able to or won't be able to.

I won't be able to go on holiday next year.

Can or can't become will be able to or won't be able to.

Will you be able to go on holiday this year?

Why won't you be able to go on holiday next year?


English pronunciation

Can / Could

English pronunciation

Full form
(Formal writing)
Written English

Short form
(informal writing and spoken English)




Could not





More English Lessons

Next Lesson - Present Perfect Simple - I have done
Previous Lesson - Directions # 2


Test what you have learnt (remember to read the poem first)-

Test It - Can / Could / Be able to

Practise Your English

Read and listen to this poem - one of my own

Tell us what you can or can't do.

!Note - All posts are moderated and then corrected. One correction per person per lesson.
You can read previous corrections On the old foruM.
Print Version - You can print this lesson out here.
Week 47

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