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6-B) Can (Twominute English) UNIT 6 lesson B

We can use the verb CAN to express Possibility, Ability, Requests or Permission. Watch this video and all the videos in this lesson to learn more about this verb.

Welcome to twominuteenglish.com. Teaching you English through two-minute lessons. In this lesson we will study the correct usage of ‘can’ in a conversation.

 ‘Can’ is a modal auxiliary verb. It’s used to express certain meanings - for example possibility, ability, requests or permission.  Mark, why don’t you give me some examples?

I can leave my car in that parking space.

Okay. You’re saying that you’ll possibly leave your car there.

Can you help me with my work?

This is a good one because it’s an informal request. We’re friends so it’s appropriate.

Can I smoke in this room?

Now you’ve just used ‘can’ to ask for my permission to do something.

You can’t smoke in here. Please go outside

Okay, I understood. You used the negative which means I don’t have permission to smoke in here.

That is correct. Now let me give you an example, Mark.

I can speak Portuguese. Can you?
No, I cannot. It’s cool that you have the ability to speak Portuguese. I can only speak English.

Now let’s see some sample conversations:

Hey Jamie. Can you help me out with something?
Yes, I can. I just need to finish some work here first.
No problem. When will you be free?
In half an hour or so.
Okay. I can wait that much. I’ll be outside.

Can you play any instruments, Garry?
No, I cannot. Can you?
Yes, I can play the guitar.
That's great. I myself can't play any instruments but I can sing well.
Yes, you can. I've heard you before.
Truth is I love music. And I can memorize things fast so I know many lyrics by heart.
I can see now why you always have some music on.
Yes, I can't live without good music.

REPEAT

I can leave my car in that parking space.
Can you help me with my work?
Can I smoke in this room?
You can’t smoke in here.
I can speak Portuguese.
No, I cannot.
I can wait that much.
Can you help me out with something?
Can you play any instruments, Garry?
I myself can't play any instruments but I can sing well.

The verb CAN has many uses:

ABILITY

- I can speak English but I can't speak Russian

PERMISSION

- Can I go out with my friends? - No, you can't. You have to study for your exams

REQUEST

- Can you help me, please? Can I have some water?

POSSIBILITY

- We can go to the beach tomorrow, but they say that it can rain a lot, so I don't know what to do.

NEGATIVE DEDUCTION

- Look, your father's over there
- No, that can't be my father, he's in London now

For the pronunciation of CAN and CAN'T click here.

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