Differences between Can and Could - Education Mania
Education Mania
Differences between Can and Could

Differences between Can and Could


General ability (present)​

EX: I can speak English.

Ask for permission (informal)

EX: Can I borrow your pen please?

To request something

EX: Can you help me please?


EX: It can get very cold there at night

Offer to help someone

EX: Can I carry your bags for you?

Cannot (can’t) = not allowed

  • EX: You cannot smoke in this room.
  • EX: You can’t go to the party


General ability in the past

EX: I could play the piano when i was younger

Ask for permission (more polite)

EX: Could I read your book please?

To request something (more polite)

  • EX: Could you pass me the salt please?
  • EX: Could you give me some advice?

Possibility in the past (Could + have + past participle)

EX: I could have stayed up late, but I decided to go to bed early.


Suggestion (when asked what to do)

EX:  We could visit New York while We’re there.


Conditional of Can (Would be able to)

  • EX: If we had some oranges I could make you some fresh juice. (would be able to)

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