can modal verb Meaning in the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “can” - Learner’s Dictionary

can

modal verb     strong /kæn/ weak /kən, kn/ ( past tense and past participle could)
ABILITY
A1 to be able to do something: Anna can speak four languages. We can't pay the rent. Can you drive?Skill, talent and ability
PERMISSION
A1 to be allowed to do something: You can't park here. Can I go now?Allowing and permitting
ASK
A1 used to ask someone to do or provide something: Can you tell her to meet me outside? Can I have a drink of water?Making appeals and requests
OFFER
A1 used to politely offer to do something: Can I carry those bags for you?Polite expressions
POSSIBLE
A2 used to talk about what is possible: You can buy stamps from the shop on the corner. Smoking can cause cancer.Possible and probable
TYPICAL
B2 used to talk about how someone often behaves or what something is often like: She can be really rude at times. This area can be dangerous at night.Describing and telling stories
SURPRISE
B1 used to show surprise: You can't possibly be hungry already! Can you believe it? Feelings of surprise and amazement
(Definition of can modal verb from the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
There, their and they’re – which one should you use?
There, their and they’re – which one should you use?
by ,
April 27, 2016
by Liz Walter If you are a learner of English and you are confused about the words there, their and they’re, let me reassure you: many, many people with English as their first language share your problem! You only have to take a look at the ‘comments’ sections on the website of, for example, a popular

Read More 

Word of the Day

sample

a small amount of something that shows you what the rest is or should be like

Word of the Day

bio-banding noun
bio-banding noun
April 25, 2016
in sport, grouping children according to their physical maturity rather than their age ‘When we’re grouping children for sports, we do it by age groups, but the problem is that, within those age groups, we get huge variations in biological age,’ said Dr Sean Cumming, senior lecturer at the University of Bath’s department for

Read More