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English definition of “can”


modal verb (ABILITY)    strong /kæn/ weak /kən/
A1 to be able to: Can you drive ? She can speak four languages . Can you read that sign from this distance ? The doctors are doing all that they can, but she's still not breathing properly . Do the best you can - I realize the circumstances are not ideal . If the party is awful , we can always leave (= that would be one possible solution to our problem ). "She's really furious about it." "Can you blame her (= I'm not surprised )?"Possible and probable can do US informal used to say that you can and will do something: "Will you mail this letter for me, please ?" "Can do." "I need you to pick up the kids today." " Sorry , no can do (= no I can't)."Ready and willingUnwilling and reluctant Grammar:CanGrammar:Can, could or may: typical errorsGrammar:Can: formsGrammar:Can: usesGrammar:Can: pastThe past of can is could:Grammar:Can: typical errorsGrammar:Can, could or may?Grammar:PossibilityWhen we talk about possibility, we use can, could and may, but they are different in meaning.Grammar:PermissionWe use can, could and may to ask for permission. We use can and may, but not could, to give permission. May is less common:Grammar:RequestsWhen we make requests, we can use can or could (but not may). Could is more polite than can:
(Definition of can modal verb (ABILITY) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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