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  1. Junior Member
    Interested in Language
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    #1

    modals of ability, past and present

    Hello, everybody!
    Would you be so kind to check my understanding of the topic? I've read lots of articles on different websites, but I want to make sure I have structurized all that information right.

    General ability in the preset: can/can't; am/is/are (not) able to
    Specific action in the present: can/can't

    Gen.ability in the past: could/couldn't, was/were (not) able to
    Spec.action in the past: could (but only with see, hear, feel, smell, taste, remember, believe, understand, decide), couldn't, was/were (not) able to, managed to/didn't manage to.
    Last edited by Iryn_; 26-Dec-2015 at 21:12.

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    #2

    Re: modals of ability, past and present

    Could is not specific to the past. It also works in the future.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Nov 2013
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    #3

    Re: modals of ability, past and present

    'He could be the next CEO' refers to a future possibility.
    I am not a teacher.

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