Reference Material
UNIT 1: Nice to Meet You
Unit 2: On Time
Unit 3: Illnesses and Injuries
Unit 4: 1-3 Review
Unit 5: Shopping and Clothing
Unit 6: Getting Around Town
1 of 3

Grammar

“Can” and “Can’t”

“Can” is a modal we use often. In this unit, we heard “can” used two times. First, Alex said “I can’t breathe very well.” Later, Alex’s mom said “You can stay in bed.” These have two different meanings.

1. When Alex uses “can,” it means “have the ability to do something.” Look at some examples below.

Example: I studied English for two years. Now I can speak very well.
“Can” is also used in the negative as “can’t” or “cannot”. This means someone “does not have the ability” to do something.
Example: The music is too loud. I can’t sleep, and I cannot study.

2. When Alex’s mom uses “can,” she is giving Alex permission to do something. “Can” also means “have the ability to do something.” Look at some examples below.

Example: Finish your homework, first. Then you can watch TV.
Can’t” and “cannot” are also used for permission. This means someone “does not have permission” to do something.
Example: You didn’t do your homework, so you cannot watch TV, and you can’t play games.

Read the examples below for “Can”. Write “P” for permission or “A” for ability. The first one has been done for you.

Now write 5 sentences or questions using “can” or “can’t” for “permission” or “ability” below.

*Click on “Next >” at the bottom left of the page to check your answers and 5 suggested sentences using “can” and “can’t”