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can, could


我们用 can/could 形容能力,用 can’t/couldn’t 形容能力的不足。

She could drive the motorcycle smoothly. 她能平稳地驾驶机车。
Children can’t concentrate for long periods of time. 孩子们不能长时间集中注意力。
He can speak English. 他会说英语。


我们用 can 来表示可能性。

Anyone can win this game. 任何人都可以赢得这场比赛。
She can’t attend the party. 她不能参加聚会。


我们用 can/could 来表示某件事已被允许了,用can’t/couldn’t表示某件事不被允许。

You can’t sleep in my room, but you can sleep in the other room if you want. 你不能睡在我的房间里,但如果你愿意,你可以睡在另一个房间。

我们还可以使用 can 请求许可

Can I come in? 我可以进来吗?


can/could 可以用于要求,例如当我们要求某人做某件事时。

Can you help me? 你能帮助我吗?
Could you speak more slowly, please? 请你说慢点好吗?


感觉类的动词(see, smell, hear, feel, taste 等)是静态动词不能用进行式,所以我们用 can。

Can you hear that? 你能听到吗? ( 不能说 Are you hearing that?)
can smell gas! 我能闻到煤气味! (不能说 I am smelling gas!)

be able to

be able to 通常和 can 很相似,我们可以用来代替 can 来表示能力;但是 be able to 比较正式且较不常见。

We are able to do the project before the deadline. 我们能够在最后期限之前完成这个项目。

但 can 只有现在或过去式 can–could,在其它的形式中(不定式、动名词、现在完成时……等)应该用be able to。

I haven’t been able to attend the meeting. 我没能参加会议。 (现在完成时)
I’d like to be able to see her every day. 我希望每天都能见到她。 (不定式,不能说 to can)
I don’t like cute things. I like being able to choose what I want. 我不喜欢可爱的东西。我喜欢能够选择我想要的。 (-ing形式)
Will they be able to talk to the teacher after class? 下课后他们能和老师交谈吗? (不定式)

can/could VS be able to

我们可用 can 和 be able to来表示目前一般情况下的能力。

She can read different languages.
She’s able to read different languages.

我们可以用 could 和 be able to 来表示过去在一般情况下的能力。

My friend could drive when he was 12 years old.
My friend was able to drive when he was 12 years old.

但当我们想表达某人在特殊情况下做了某事,必须要用 was/were able to,或 managed to+原形动词。

There was a fire in the office but all the workers were able to/managed to escape. 办公室里发生了火灾,但所有的工人都设法逃脱了。 (不能说 could escape)
He lost his maps but after driving around for a long time, he was able to/managed to find the place. 他把地图弄丢了,但开了很长时间后,他终于找到了那个地方。 (不能说 could find)

在否定句中,could 和 be able to 都可以用来表示在某个特定情况下无法达成某事。

The table was very messy, and she couldn’t find her keys. (Or She wasn’t able to find the keys.) 桌子很乱,她找不到钥匙。

can,could, be able to – 练习题

1. He hates perform on the stage.

2. When she was 15 years old, she play different sports.

3. After 6 hours climbing, they reach the top of the mountain.

4. When I was 5 years old, I used to run in the oval by myself.

5. Yesterday I lost my keys and I looked for them everywhere, but I find them.

6. Justin wasn't at home, but I contact him at his office.

7. If she wants to let us know about her problem, she should talk about it now.

8. Can you drive my car for me? I do it anymore. I'm drunk.

9. They've never attend a school party because their parents are strict.

10. After living alone in the city, I cook very well now.




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