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.

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?

 4  Posibilidad

Para expresar que algo puede suceder.

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

 

Ejercicios

A) 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 shopping this week.

I can do the 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 in this street at weekends?

Can you park in this street at weekends?
Could you park in this street at weekends?

10 play the guitar yet?

Can't you play the guitar yet?

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