- For Teachers
Here in the dialect of America's deep south we have a very useful double modal that covers that exact situation very neatly: used to could.
When I first heard people say something like, "I used to could ride a motorcycle before I hurt my back," I thought they were ignorant. Then I thought about how exact and economical this phrase is and wondered why the rest of the English-speaking world didn't pick up on it.
I am guessing that "used to could" means 'could', in which case adding "used to" would serve no purpose.
'I could ride a motor cycle before I hurt my back.' (but I can't ride one now)
"I used to ride a motorcycle before I hurt my back. (maybe I still can but I don't ride anymore)
'can & could' are the most confusing of the modals because they share identical meanings.
Try to make a sentence using the other modal pairs, for example, may/might.
Make a sentence, just one sentence, that uses 'might' as the past tense of 'may'.
We have at east one of our own set of double modals that is in common use;
You shouldn't oughta do that/shouldn't oughta've done that.