What Is The Difference Between The Words, " Can & Could "?


3 Answers

Robyn Rothman Profile
Robyn Rothman answered
Can and could are both what are called auxiliary verbs. We use can to talk about possibility and ability, make requests and ask for or give permission

We use could to talk about a past ability or possibility or to make requests.
Aisha Profile
Aisha answered
There is a lot of difference between the English words Can and Could. The word can is used for present tense and for the action that can be done. E.g the sentence, "I can wash my clothes". Where the subject is concerned with doing of a task. Whereas the word could is used for past as you have mentioned above. Something that you could have done but you did not do. E.g I could wash my clothes.
thanked the writer.
Robyn Rothman
Robyn Rothman commented
By your very definition, your example "I could wash my clothes" should read "I could have washed my clothes".
shakira khanum
shakira khanum commented
So does this mean that, could is the past tense of can ?
Anonymous commented
i don't think, 'could' is used for past tense and 'can' for present tense..for eg a statement like "You could take up the course" does not denote past tense but is still used frequently in common dialect. According to me, 'Could' is mainly used for requesting or advising the other person, while 'Can' is used to emphasize that there are a few options available which the other person can choose from. EG.."You could listen to the radio" contains more personal involvement and subjectivity; "You can listen to the radio" is more strictly factual and objective.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Can and could are to separate auxiliary verbs, that can be use to show ability and possibility.they can be use interchangeable in the construction of english sentence.

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