Modal Auxiliary Can


Modal Auxiliary Can

Modal auxiliaries or modal verbs are used for different purposes such as ability, probability, possibility, permission, request, offer, suggestion, obligation, advice, necessity, or prohibition. Modal auxiliary can is one of them. We are discussing the modal auxiliary can in this article. Let’s study in detail.

What is can?

Can is a modal auxiliary or modal verb that is used for ability, possibility, taking permission, giving permission, request, offering help, prohibition, and opportunity. We use the base form of the verb after the modal auxiliary can.

  • I can fix this car.
  • Can you help me with this problem?
Modal Auxiliary Can
Structure of the Modal Auxiliary Can

The modal auxiliary can is placed like other auxiliary verbs. It is always followed by the base form of the verb.

Affirmative Structure

In affirmative form, we use the modal auxiliary can after the subject of a sentence.

Subject + Can + Verb (1st form) +……

  • We can reach there on time.
  • Lisa can reserve seats for us.
  • She can cook different dishes.

Negative Structure

The negative form of the modal auxiliary can is cannot. You can also write its negative form in the short form. Its short form is can’t. The short form is used in informal language.

Subject + Cannot/can’t + Verb (1st form) +……

  • They cannot speak Urdu.
  • I cannot ride a bike well.
  • Lisa cannot translate English into Spanish.

Informal Structure

  • She can’t lend you her book.
  • John can’t drive fast at night.

Question Structure

We can also make questions using the modal auxiliary can. In questions, we bring the modal auxiliary can to the beginning of a sentence.

Can + Subject + Verb (1st form) +……

  • Can she teach English?
  • Can I invite my friends to the party?
  • Can you help me in arranging the party?

Wh question word + Can + Subject + Verb (1st form) +……

  • Where can I park my car?
  • Being a student, what can you do for your nation?

Can Examples

  • She can walk for two hours.
  • I can translate Urdu into English.
  • Can I read your books anytime?
  • You can come in and take the class.
  • Can I help you in writing your thesis?
  • He was far from well. He can be at home.
  • It is so late. Where can we stay for tonight?
  • This is my property; they cannot use it this way.
  • It makes no difference if it rains. I can take a taxi.
  • Can you tell me how I can create my account on that website?

Uses of Can

Can for Ability

We use the modal auxiliary can for present ability. If someone or something has the ability to do something in the present, we use the modal auxiliary can.

  • John can reach there on time.
  • They can help you by giving you some money.

Can for Permission

We use the modal auxiliary can in different contexts. One of its usages is for permission. We can use "can" for permission. Remember that it can be used for both taking and giving permission.

Can for Taking permission

  • Can I take your car?
  • Can she sit in your class?
  • Can we sit here?

Can for Giving permission

  • Yes, you can take my car.
  • Yes, she can sit in my class.
  • Yes, you can sit here.

Can for Request

We can also use the modal auxiliary can for making a request.

  • Can you pass me the salt, please?
  • Can you give me a glass of water?

Can for Possibility

When there is a possibility of an event, we can use the modal auxiliary can to talk about the possibility.

  • It is cloudy; it can rain today.
  • Don’t eat more fats. It can kill you.

Can for Offering Help

When you want to offer help, you can use the modal auxiliary can.

  • Can I help you in solving your math problems?
  • Can we support you morally?

Can for Opportunity

In some cases, we can use the modal auxiliary can to talk about an opportunity.

  • It is raining, so you can take a taxi.
  • I know prices are high, but you can do a part-time job, too.

Can for Prohibition

One of the uses of the modal auxiliary can is for prohibition.

  • They cannot sell your products on Amazon.
  • You cannot use my cell phone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 10 examples of can?

  • What can you do for me?
  • I can also drive fast at night.
  • They cannot climb the mountain.
  • Can you help me to find a new job?
  • How can you manage your expenses?
  • Lisa and John can marry if they want.
  • I don’t allow you; you cannot use my laptop.
  • Can I do something to overcome your problems?
  • Can you teach computer programming courses?
  • There can be more job opportunities in the UAE.

What is the difference between can and could?

Could is considered the past form of can when it refers to ability. In likelihood, “can” is used when something is very likely to happen. On the other hand, could means that it has a chance of both happening and not happening.

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