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Meaning of “can” in the English Dictionary

"can" in British English

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canmodal verb

uk   strong /kæn/ weak /kən/ us   strong /kæn/ weak /kən/
  • can modal verb (ABILITY)

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)?"
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)."

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  • can modal verb (PERMISSION)

A1 to be allowed to: Can I use your bike, John? You can park over there. You can have a piece of cake after you've eaten your vegetables!
informal sometimes used to tell someone angrily to do something: If you carry on being horrible to your sister, Sophie, you can just go to bed!

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  • can modal verb (REQUEST)

A1 used to request something: If you see Brett, can you tell him I'm in town next weekend? Can you make a little less noise, please? I'm trying to work.

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  • can modal verb (POSSIBILITY)

A2 used to express possibility: You can get stamps from the local newsagents. You can get very nasty skin diseases from bathing in dirty water. Smoking can cause cancer. Noise can be quite a problem when you're living in a flat. He can be really annoying at times (= he is sometimes very annoying).

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  • can modal verb (OFFER)

A1 used in polite offers of help: Can I help you with those bags? I'm afraid Ms Ferguson has already left the office. Can I be of any help?

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cannoun

uk   /kæn/ us   /kæn/
  • can noun (CONTAINER)

A2 [C] also tin can, UK also tin a closed metal container, especially cylinder-shaped, in which some types of drink and food are sold: a can of soup/beans
[C] UK also tin the amount of food or drink that is contained in a can: You'll need a can of tuna for this recipe.
[C] UK also tin a metal container, especially one with a lid, handle, and shaped opening for pouring: an oil can a can of paint
  • can noun (PRISON)

the can [S] US
informal for prison: He spent ten years in the can for armed robbery.

canverb [T]

uk   /kæn/ us   /kæn/ -nn-
(Definition of can from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"can" in American English

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cannoun [C]

us   /kæn/
  • can noun [C] (CONTAINER)

a metal container, esp. a closed, cylindrical container in which food and drink are packaged: a gas/watering can The vending machine has soda in cans.
A can is also the amount of food or drink that a can holds: I had a can of soup for lunch.

canverb [T]

us   /kæn/ -nn-
  • can verb [T] (CONTAIN)

to preserve food by putting it into a can or into a jar (= glass container) from which the air is removed: They can all kinds of fruit.
slang If you get canned, you are dismissed from your job: No, I’m not on vacation – I got canned last week.

canmodal verb

us   /kæn, kən/ present tense can, past tense could /kʊd, kəd/
  • can modal verb (ABLE)

to be able to: She can speak four languages. We’re doing the best we can, but we won’t make our deadline.
  • can modal verb (PERMIT)

to be allowed or to have permission: You can park on the street. You can do it by yourself.
Can is also used to request something: Can you help me lift this box? Can I have a tissue, please?
Note: Can is usually used in standard spoken English when asking for permission. It is acceptable in most forms of written English, although in very formal writing, such as official instructions, may is often used instead: Persons under 14 unaccompanied by an adult may not enter.
  • can modal verb (BE POSSIBLE)

used to express possibility in the present: You can get stamps at the post office.
  • can modal verb (OFFER)

used in polite offers of help or by someone who provides service, as in a store: Can I help you with those bags?
(Definition of can from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"can" in Business English

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canverb [T]

uk   strong /kæn/ uk   weak /kən, kn/ us   -nn-
PRODUCTION to put food or drink into a closed metal container to preserve it: canned dog foods.
US informal HR to remove someone from their job: After becoming partner in May of last year, she was canned five months later.
(Definition of can from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“can” in Business English

Avoiding common errors with the word enough.
Avoiding common errors with the word enough.
by ,
May 25, 2016
by Liz Walter Enough is a very common word, but it is easy to make mistakes with it. You need to be careful about its position in a sentence, and the prepositions or verb patterns that come after it. I’ll start with the position of enough in the sentence. When we use it with a noun,

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