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Advanced Composition 
Could I or Can I? Using Modals

March 1, 2001

Modals in English can be difficult to learn. If you could just pay attention tonight, we will discuss some interesting and useful ways to use "can" and "could."

Two Uses for "Can"

Giving a suggestion: "You can talk to the counsellor if you need help."

A strong possibility: "A match can cause a fire. Be careful!"

Two Uses for "Could"

To ask for permission: "Could I borrow your truck? I need to move a piano."

Past Ability (same as was/were able to) "I could ride a bike much faster when I was younger."

Writing Exercise:

Write about an activity you could do better when you were younger than you are today. Use three of the four uses of "can" and "could" we have discussed tonight.

Go to Assignment Archive for older assignments.








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