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  1. Newbie
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    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 5
    #1

    use of 'could'

    when the word 'could' is used?
    do we use 'could' in present tense?
    what is the difference between the use of 'can' and 'could'?
    please explain

  2. Sensible's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Thailand

    • Join Date: Jan 2009
    • Posts: 46
    #2

    Re: use of 'could'

    'Can' is the word for ability. 'I can ride a bicycle'= 'I am able to ride a bicycle.'
    'Could' is the word for possibility. I 'could' ride a bicycle, if I had one.

    HTH

  3. Newbie
    Student or Learner

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 5
    #3

    Re: use of 'could'

    ARE U SURE??

    ANYWYA THANKS

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Portuguese
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      • Brazil
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    #4

    Re: use of 'could'

    Quote Originally Posted by irosezi View Post
    ARE U SURE??

    ANYWYA THANKS
    Yes, Sensible is right.

    From a traditional approach "could" is the past tense of "can", and in fact there are situations where things work like that. However, there are many other situations where you cannot say that "could" simply work as a past tense for "can." You will have to listen to these words in many many situations before you can really grasp their meanings.

    Observe that "can" and "could" are modal verbs, and these are special verbs in English; they kind of modify the way regular verbs behave. If you wish, take a look at the topic "modal verbs" in your grammar, or look it up in the Internet.

    There are some interesting discussion about this topic here UsingEnglish, for instance:

    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...dal-verbs.html
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...-must-can.html
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...413-shall.html

    PS Not a native speaker

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