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Questions tagged [can-vs-be-able]

Questions about the difference between using the modal ‘can’ and the periphrastic phrase ‘to be able to’. For example, “I can see it” versus “I am able to see it”.

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Should I use 'can' or 'will be able to'? "If he fixes your car tonight, you [?] drive it to school tomorrow." [closed]

Should I change "will be able to" to "can" in the bolded sentence from the exchange below? A: My car broke down and I have to drive to school to pick up my daughter tomorrow. I ...
Skywarrior's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers

Was able to/manage vs could?

Why is this sentence correct: "Could you find Diana's bag?" According to what grammars say, it should be: "Did you manage to find Diana's bag?" Because: indicates ability in a particular moment. ...
Isabel's user avatar
  • 57
0 votes
2 answers

The rebels [could / were able to] draw on the support of over 20,000 soldiers

I don't understand why both are correct answers. Isn't it supposed to use [be able to] rather than [could] if the situation is a specific event in a specific moment, which I think is this case? For ...
urggggh's user avatar
  • 11
2 votes
2 answers

"can" vs "be able to" in present

While working on a standardized test, where one of the questions suggests to choice the only one correct answer, the following sentence seems to me a bit confusing: Long hours and unsociable shifts ...
Efim Mazhnik's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer

"We can able to" or "we are able to" [closed]

Can someone tell me if "we can able to" or "we are able to" is the correct usage? I feel the latter is correct. However, I noticed the former usage in a few write ups and emails.
Nithin's user avatar
  • 23
10 votes
4 answers

"was able to" vs "could"

According to my grammar book, here are some usages of was able to and could could can be used to refer in general that someone has a skill. e.g. At that time I could still read without spectacles. ...
Clarity94's user avatar
  • 203
1 vote
1 answer

Can "to be able to" be used without preposition

Can the phrase "to be able to" be used without the preposition "to". For example, can you say "I will call you back as soon as I am able?"
user48753's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer

Are “could I have been able to cope with” and "could I have coped with” the same?

I am a bit confused with the formation of this sentence. My lines are: What if I were a girl? Would I have been able to cope with the ordeal that women and girls live through every day? But I am ...
Amit Pattnaik's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers

could versus be able

Let me start by saying what is written in grammar books on this issue and after that I will put my question. (Take heed that this usage of "could" ONLY refers to the past and ONLY to affirmative ...
user1425's user avatar
  • 988
39 votes
6 answers

What is the infinitive of "can"?

Like the title says: I don't think "to can" is right :) I mean "can" as in to be able to. I'm aware of other meanings. I can't find the answer here. (There's What is an "infinitive"? which ...
sehe's user avatar
  • 1,121
9 votes
4 answers

Is there a gerund for the verb "can"?

I would like translate a Portuguese phrase into English: Esta técnica é bem poderosa, podendo ser extendida para várias outras questões. In English I got: This technique is very powerful and ...
GarouDan's user avatar
  • 233
4 votes
3 answers

How would you use "can" in a future sentence?

If you purchase this then you will be able to do that. How can I write the quoted statement using can?
Chankey Pathak's user avatar
3 votes
4 answers

"Be able to," "can" in reduced relative pronouns

I am trying to remember whether the sentences below are correct: I don't know this guy being able to complete this task. I don't know this guy can complete this task. I think the first one is ...
Tarik's user avatar
  • 2,573
3 votes
4 answers

"Can't" vs. "won't be able to" [closed]

Which of the following is grammatically correct? Even if ____, I probably won't be able to ____. Could it be rephrased this way and still remain grammatically correct? Even if ____, I probably ...
language hacker's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers

"will be able to" vs. "can"

Consider the following: He will be able to do it. He can do it. They mean the same thing, right? Can "can" replace "will be able to" in any sentence? What is the difference, if anything? Why ...
language hacker's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers

Is the usage "can able to" wrong? I believe it's wrong. But where can I find some reference on the same?

I hear a lot of people use 'can able to' in their daily talk. I believe it's entirely wrong. Both 'can' and 'able to' hold the same meaning. Where do I get more information on the same and also the ...
San's user avatar
  • 305