Can and Be Able to Present and Past Ability Discussion Questions

A LESSON PLAN FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHERS

Level: Intermediate
Topic: General
Grammar Topic: Modals
Type: Lesson Plans
Submitted by:
Published: 7th Jan 2020

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Lesson Plan Text

Can and Be Able to Present and Past Ability Discussion Questions

Take turns asking each other questions from below. When there are two options, just 
choose either one (as they have the same meanings). 

 Were   you   able   to   relax   yesterday/   the   day   before   yesterday/   on   Monday/   last

Wednesday?

 Were you able to… yesterday/ the day before yesterday/ on… day/ last… day?

 How   old   were   you   when   you   were   first   able   to   play   a   musical   instrument?   Is   that

similar to other people you know?

 How old were you when you were first able to…? Is that similar to other people you

know?

 Do you remember the first time that you were able to speak English outside class?

What happened?

 Do you remember the first time that you were able to…? What happened?

 Do you remember the first time that you tried to learn how to swim? How was it?

 Do you remember the first time that you tried to learn how to…? How was it?

 Is there anything you can’t do? How hard have you tried to do that thing?

 Could you ride a bike when you were five years old?/ Were you able to ride a bike

when you were five years old? How does that compare to other people you know?

 Could you… when you were… years old?/ Were you able to… when you were… years

old? How does that compare to other people you know?

 Can you drive? Could you do that when you left school?/ Can you drive a car? Were

you able to do that when you left school?

 Can   you…?   Could   you   do   that   when…?/   Can   you…?   Were   you   able   to   do   that

when…?

 Is there anything you could do but now can’t? How did you lose that skill?/ Is there

anything you were able to do but now can’t? How did you lose that skill?

 Is there anything you could do well but now aren’t so good at? Why has your ability

changed?/ Is there anything you were able to do well but now aren’t so good at? Why

has your ability changed?

 When you were 16 years old, could you study better than now? Does it matter?/ When

you were 16 years old, were you able to study better than now? Does it matter?

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2020

p. 1

 When you were… years old, could you… better than now? Does it matter?/ When you

were… years old, were you able to… better than now? Does it matter?

 Can you speak any other languages? Have you ever found that to be a useful skill?

 Can you…? Have you ever found that to be a useful skill?

 What kind of sport can you do most skilfully? How did you first learn how to do that

thing?

 What kind of… can you… most skilfully? How did you first learn how to do that thing?

Ask about questions above you don’t understand or don’t understand how to answer. 

Can and Be Able to for present and past abilities grammar presentation

What are the two past forms of “can”?

What is the difference between them?

Which sentences above don’t have “could”? Why not?

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2020

p. 2

Ask each other your own discussion questions made from the stems below.

 Are you able to…?

 Can you…?

 Could you…?

 Do you remember the first time that you…?

 Have you ever…?

 How old were you…?

 Is there anything that you…?

 Was there anything that you…?

 Were you able to…?

 What kind of…?

 When you were… years old,…?

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2020

p. 3

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