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  1. Newbie
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: May 2011
    • Posts: 7


    My question today is about modals.
    "He was able to win the race." It means he won the race. Can it also mean he didn't win? - he didn't use the ability to win. If not, how to express the idea?

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,663

    Re: Ability

    You can say:

    He could have won the race, but he didn't.
    (Because I am able to swallow bleach that doesn't mean I did.)

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