The Modal Verb ‘Can’

The modal verb “can” is frequently used in English grammar to convey various meanings and purposes. Here is some information on how we use “can”:

1. Ability: “Can” denotes a person’s capacity to perform a certain action, signifying that they possess the requisite skill, knowledge, or capability. For instance, the statement “She can play the piano” indicates her ability to play the piano.

2. Permission: We use “Can” to request or give permission. We employ it to ask for approval or grant someone the authority to do something. For example, the query “Can I borrow your pen?” seeks permission to borrow the pen.

3. Possibility: “Can” expresses the likelihood or feasibility of something occurring, suggesting that it is possible or probable. For instance, “It can rain tomorrow” suggests the possibility of rain.

4. Requests: We use “Can” for making requests or asking individuals to perform tasks. It is a polite way to solicit assistance or cooperation. For example, “Can you help me with this task?” is a request for help.

5. Prohibition: “Can” can also signify that something is prohibited or not allowed. For example, “You can’t use the car tonight” indicates that using the car is forbidden.

It is essential to understand that “can” is a modal verb and does not undergo conjugation like regular verbs. It remains the same regardless of the subject or tense.
Modal Verbs - Can