The verb "can"


Can is a verb that is very often used in the English language. We use it when we
  • express that someone is able to do something: He can speak Spanish.;
  • express that something is possible: The kids can stay at our place after school.;
  • ask for something: Can I have some water, please?;
  • ask for or give permission: Can I go to the party tonight? Yes, you can go.;
  • offer to do something: Can I help you?.

Statements with can

The verb can always requires the infinitive form of the following verb: She can swim. They can go. We can meet you there, okay? Rule: Noun/pronoun + can + infinitive + ….
Can has only one form. It does not change with he, she, it:
  • I can
  • You can
  • He, She, It can
  • We can
  • You can
  • They can
The "negative form" of can is can't or cannot: You cannot go to that party! She can't speak English. I can't call you because my phone is out of order.

Questions with can

Remember that we ask a Yes/No Question using the verb "to be": form of to be + noun/pronoun + …? Are you tired? The same rule applies for questions with the verb can: can + noun/pronoun + verb + …?
She can swim. Can she swim? I can help you. Can I help you? Anna can speak German. Can Anna speak German?

Short answers with can

You can answer questions with Yes, I/you/he/she/it/we/they/… can. or No, I/you/he/she/it/we/they/… can't.:
Can you swim? Yes, I can. Can I help you? Yes, you can. Can Peter speak Spanish? No, he can't.
Although can't is the short form of cannot, you usually don't use cannot in short answers without a verb following. With cannot, the answer would be longer: Can Peter speak Spanish? No, he cannot speak Spanish.
Give brief answers to the questions using the verb can. Keep the pronoun. Example: Can she read? Yes, she can. or No, she can't.
  1. Can we wait? Yes, ⁠.
  2. Can he drive? Yes, ⁠.
  3. Can she help? Yes, ⁠.
  4. Can we leave? No, ⁠!
  5. Can they sing? No, ⁠!
  6. Can she come? No, ⁠!
Write questions or answers with can. For example: Can they fly? Yes, they can fly. / No, they can't fly. Look at the pictures for help.
  • singer
    ⁠? No, he can't sing.
  • dancing
    ⁠? Yes, they can dance.
  • tennis-player
    Can they play tennis? No,⁠.
  • car-driver
    ⁠? Yes, he can drive.
  • swimming
    Can he swim? Yes,⁠.

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