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How To Use 'Can', 'Could' And 'Be Able To' (Oxford Online English)

In this lesson, you can learn how to use the English modal verbs 'can' and 'could' to talk about ability. You will also learn about the verbs 'be able to and 'managed to' to talk about ability. These verbs are not modal verbs, but we cannot use the modal verbs 'can' or 'could' in every situation to talk about ability, so sometimes we need to use a different verb.

In this video, you will see:
1) How to use 'can' to talk about abilities in the present or future
2) How to use 'could' to talk about abilities in the past
3) When you need to use the verbs 'be able to' or 'managed to'
4) The difference between 'can' or 'could', and 'be able to'
5) The two different meanings of 'could'

'Can' and 'could' are used to talk about abilities in the past, present or future. Sometimes, there isn't a form of 'can', and we need to use the verb 'be able to'. For example, 'can' doesn't have a present perfect form, so if you want to use 'can' in the present perfect, you need to use 'be able to'.

In other forms, 'can' or 'could' and 'be able to' generally have the same meaning. However, if you are talking about abilities in the past, 'could' and 'be able to' are sometimes different. We use 'could' to talk about general abilities in the past, while if you want to talk about a specific ability at a specific time, you need to use 'be able to'.

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