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Thread: could

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    #1

    could

    Hi,

    I have seen lots of comments about could and be able to, but I have been much more confused because of the various answers. Please help me.

    Can we use 'could and was/were able to' for general ability in past?

    When I was six, I could ride a bicycle.
    When I was six, I was able to ride a bicycle.

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    #2

    Re: could

    Both your examples are OK for "general ability in the past".

  1. nedira's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: could

    I agree with billmcd. When talking about a general ability in the past you can use either could or was/were able to.

    One more information is that you should use only was/ were able to (or managed to) to to describe a special achievement or a
    particular situation in the past.

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    #4

    Re: could

    Of course you can use the both

  2. FreeToyInside's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: could

    In AmE you're more likely to hear "could" than "was able to."


    (not a teacher, just a language lover)

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