‘Can’ is a very important auxiliary verb in English.
You can use it to:
- Express ability and possibility
- Give permission
- Ask for permission
- Ask for something (request)
The Correct Structure of ‘Can’
Subject + Can + Verb
|subject||auxiliary verb||main verb|
- There is only one form of can.
- The verb is always the bare infinitive.
How to Use ‘Can’ in a Sentence
1. Using ‘Can’ to Express Possibility and Ability
- He can ride a bike.
- Maria can speak English and Italian.
- I cannot speak Spanish. (I can’t speak Spanish.)
- Can you ride a bike?
Note: We normally use ‘can’ in the present tense, but you can use ‘can’ when discussing the future.
- Can you help me paint the house today?
- No, I can’t because I have to go to work today. But I can can help you tomorrow.
2. Using ‘Can’ to Make Requests and Orders
- Can you please make me a sandwich , please?
- Can you please put some music on?
- Can you please be quiet? I have a headache!
3. Using ‘Can’ to Give or Ask For Permission
- Can I use the internet?
- You can’t use the internet here, but you can use it in the cafe next door.
Practise using ‘can’ in a sentence by writing in the comments below, or write on our Facebook wall and we will give you feedback.