Can, could

 

"Can" funciona como verbo auxiliar modal y, por tanto, cumple las siguientes características:

 

  • Va seguido de un verbo en infinitivo sin "to", excepto be able to, need to, have to y ought to.
  • La tercera persona del singular no lleva -s en el presente simple.
  • No necesita añadir el auxiliar do/does para la forma interrogativa y negativa.
  • No tiene tiempos compuestos ni progresivos.
  • No tiene infinitivo.

 

Afirmativa e
interrogativa
NegativaNegativa
corta
Presentecancannotcan't
Pasadocouldcould notcouldn't

Can

AfirmativoNegativoInterrogativo
I can doI cannot doI can't doCan I do?
You can doYou cannot doYou can't doCan you do?
He can doHe cannot doHe can't doCan he do?
She can doShe cannot doShe can't doCan she do?
It can doIt cannot doIt can't doCan it do?
We can doWe cannot doWe can't doCan we do?
You can doYou cannot doYou can't doCan you do?
They can doThey cannot doThey can't doCan they do?

Could

AfirmativoNegativoInterrogativo
I could doI could not doI couldn't doCould I do?
You could doYou could not doYou couldn't doCould you do?
He could doHe could not doHe couldn't doCould he do?
She could doShe could not doShe couldn't doCould she do?
It could doIt could not doIt couldn't doCould it do?
We could doWe could not doWe couldn't doCould we do?
You could doYou could not doYou couldn't doCould you do?
They could doThey could not doThey couldn't doCould they do?

 

"Can" sólo tiene dos formas: el presente y el pasado simple. Para otros tiempos verbales utilizaremos "to be able to" (ser capaz).

Ejemplos

I'll be able to go to the beach (futuro).

Podré ir a la playa.

They have been able to find a parking place (present perfect).

Han podido encontrar un lugar para aparcar.

 

Superprof

Usos frecuentes de "can, could"

 

 1  Habilidad

'Can' se utiliza para expresar la capacidad (poder) o habilidad (saber) de alguien para hacer algo.

She can play the guitarElla sabe tocar la guitarra
We couldn't speak FrenchNo sabíamos hablar francés

'Can' suele acompañar a los verbos de percepción o verbos de los sentidos como hear, feel, see, smell, taste.

She can hear it, but she can't find itLo oye pero no puede encontrarlo
I can't see themNo los veo

 2  Permiso o prohibición

En oraciones interrogativas se utiliza para pedir permiso; mientras que en oraciones negativas implica la prohibición de hacer algo.

You can't smoke in the mallsNo puedes fumar en los centros comerciales
Could I borrow your car?¿Podría prestarme tu coche?

"Can" es una forma coloquial de pedir permiso. En el lenguaje formal se utiliza "may".

 3  Peticiones

Para pedir algo a alguien.

Can you do me a favour?¿Puedes hacerme un favor?
Could you open the window?¿Podrías abrir la ventana?

 

Posibilidad

Para expresar que algo puede suceder.

It can be dangerousPuede ser peligroso
It could snow this weekendPodría nevar este fin de semana

 

Ejercicios

Elige la opción correcta.

1 I give you a lesson this evening.

I can give you a lesson this evening.

2 Do you think one day people to travel to the stars?

Do you think one day people will be able travel to the stars?

3 I do the grocery shopping this week.

I can do the grocery shopping this week.

4 We were very busy last week but we do all we had to.

We were very busy last week but we could do all we had to.

5 You get a better job if you'd work harder.

You could get a better job if you'd work harder.

6 He find his ticket for the concert.

He couldn't find his ticket for the concert.

7 hear what I was saying?

Couldn't you hear what I was saying?

8 She walk until she was three.

She wasn't able to walk until she was three.

9 you park on this street during weekends?

Can you park on this street during weekends?
Could you park on this street during weekends?

10 play the guitar yet?

Can't you play the guitar yet?

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Heraz
Heraz
Guest
19 Jun.

I did the quiz to see if it was something I could use with my students. It turns out it marks many of my answers as incorrect yet each correction it gives it exactly the same as the answer. Also, you might want to check number 9 since it doesn’t seem to be obligation but rather a suggestion of a time to meet. Other than that, you did very well using questions that one would very likely find in day to day conversation.

Superprof
Superprof
Admin
19 Jun.

Hello Caro,

Thanks for your message and your kind words.
We’ve just corrected the information as you suggested. Could you tell us if you find anything else?

Thanks a lot,

Regards

hernandez teheran
hernandez teheran
Guest
19 Mar.

mira, profe ay esta el trabajo del verbo should

Luna mercado
Luna mercado
Guest
19 Mar.

Mira profe ya lo hice

Manuel Villaseñor
Manuel Villaseñor
Guest
4 Abr.

Hola, rodrigo! una pregunta. en el punto número 1 de las diiferencia entre ‘may’ y ‘can dices que may not, se usa para denegar o prohibir, sin embargo, en el punto número 2 en la parte de may y can en negativo dices que May not’ significa ‘puede que no’ (duda)
¡Estoy confundido!
Es posible negar un permiso con may not o solamente significa «puede que no»
¡saludos!

Superprof
Superprof
Admin
6 Abr.

Hola Manuel, may puede tener significado de permiso y de probabilidad. May not se puede usar para negar permiso pero también para hablar de probabilidad.

Permiso: You may use the car – Puedes usar el coche
You may not use your dad’s new car – No puedes usar el coche nuevo de tu padre

Probabilidad: He may call later – Puede que llame más tarde

Esperamos haber podido aclarar tus dudas. ¡Un saludo!