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Thread: general ability

  1. #1
    aysaa is offline Senior Member
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    Default general ability

    Hi,

    I would like to ask whether we can use 'is/are-was/were able to ' with passive voice instead of can and could.

    The game will be able to be played by 2 or 3 players.
    Last edited by aysaa; 26-Apr-2012 at 17:39.

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: general ability

    You could say that, aysaa, but I don't know why you would want to.

  3. #3
    aysaa is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: general ability

    Because I have read that we can't use 'be able to' with passive voices such as:

    "Not so long ago, more than 30 species could be found here."

    (NOT "Not so long ago, more than 30 species were able to be found here").

    The teacher can’t be understood.

    ( NOT The teacher wasn't able to be understood).

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: general ability

    It's not natural sounding and it would be very rare for a native speaker to ever spontaneously choose this form.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. #5
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: general ability

    Quote Originally Posted by aysaa View Post
    Because I have read that we can't use 'be able to' with passive voices such as:
    It's not an absolute rule, but we generally don't do it.

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