Modal verbs for ability


1. To help learners to understand the use of modal verbs for ability.
2. For learners to be able to choose the right modal verbs to fill in the sentence.


1. Study through the content in this chapter.
2. Then, practice and do an exercise after the lesson.

When we talk about ability, we mean two things
 First, we mean general ability. This is something that once you have learned you can do any time you want, like being able to read or swim or speak a language.
 The other kind of ability is specific ability. This means something that you can or can't do in one particular situation and specific of time. For example, being able to lift something heavy up, or find somewhere you are looking for.

Can and Could

When could is used as the past tense of can, it refers to an ability that a person generally had in the past or to something that was generally possible in the past.

1. I Can play the piano.
2. she Can speak English.
3. I Can help you tomorrow

1. I could read when i was four. 2. She could speak French when she was a child. 3. Jackson could remember all of this classmates when he was five.

Can't and Couldn't

Can't and Couldn't is a negative ability and shows something that you don't have ability to do something. For examples:
1. He Can't dance at all until he took lessons.
2. My grandfather Can't swim.
3. He called us because he Can't find the house.

1. he Couldn't dance at all until he took lessons.
2. My grandfather Couldn't swim.
3. He called us because he Couldn't find the house.

Now that you have learned about ability with modal verbs, are you ready for some exercise? Now, choose the correct verb for these sentences:

1. I ____ sleep. It is so hot!

2. When I was five or six, I do a handstand, but I ____ now.

3. We had a party yesterday, but Roger ____ come.

4. When I met Darren last year, he ____ swim.

5. Now he ____ swim like a fish.