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Level 7 (CEFR B1)

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0/121 Pasos
  1. Lesson 1 | Is he the One?
    7 Temas
    |
    3 Cuestionarios
  2. Lesson 2 | I Love Shepherd's Pie
    7 Temas
    |
    2 Cuestionarios
  3. Lesson 3 | What are you going to do?
    7 Temas
    |
    6 Cuestionarios
  4. Lesson 4 | You have been working too much
    7 Temas
    |
    4 Cuestionarios
  5. Lesson 5 | Eating Out
    5 Temas
    |
    2 Cuestionarios
  6. Lesson 6 | Job search
    7 Temas
  7. Lesson 7 | Consumer society
    7 Temas
    |
    6 Cuestionarios
  8. Lesson 8 | ARTICLES
    7 Temas
    |
    4 Cuestionarios
  9. Lesson 9 | Obligations, suggestions, and prohibitions
    7 Temas
    |
    3 Cuestionarios
  10. Lesson 10 | Money
    5 Temas
    |
    4 Cuestionarios
  11. Lesson 11 | Ability and Possibility
    7 Temas
    |
    3 Cuestionarios
  12. Lesson 12 | EVERYONE WAS BORED!
    7 Temas
    |
    5 Cuestionarios
  13. Lesson 13 | Old Me, New Me
    7 Temas
    |
    4 Cuestionarios
  14. Lesson 14 | He had rehearsed it all…
    7 Temas
    |
    4 Cuestionarios
  15. Lesson 15 | Let’s Get Sporty!
    6 Temas
    |
    5 Cuestionarios
  16. Lesson 16 | Narrative - A family trip
    5 Temas
Lección 11, Tema 3
En Progreso

Lesson 11 — Step 3 — Ability & possibility

PROGRESO DE LA LECCIÓN
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Goal

It’s time to learn about how to express ability and possibility.

You can watch the video or go straight to the written explanation. You decide! Once you’ve finished, you can move to step 4.


Language Discovery

What is the difference between the words in blue and the phrases in green from the text in step 1?

Read the explanation below to find out.

CAN/COULD

To express ability and possibility in English, we use a modal verb that you know very well: can

  •   I can play the piano very well – (ability).
  •   She can go to the concert tonight, she’s free – (possibility).

CAN  has got a present form (which we can use with a future meaning) and a past or conditional one:

  • We can help you if you want.
  • She could play the guitar when she was very young.
  • They could be friends if they wanted.

BE ABLE TO

We cannot use can after other modal verbs or auxiliary verbs:

  • e.g: I will can see you tonight.

To express ability and possibility in those situations, we use be able to + verb:

  • e.g: I will be able to see you tonight.

futureWell be able to help tomorrow if you want.
present or past 
perfect
She has been able to play the guitar.
They had been able to give us a lift.
gerund and
infinitive with to
She loves being able to stay in bed late during her holidays.
I would like to be able to fly.

We can also use be able to in the present and past instead of can, to sound more formal:

  • My colleague wasn’t able to come to the meeting yesterday.
  • Unfortunately, I am not able to accept your invitation.

Conclusion

Ready? Terrific! Let’s move on to step 4 to practise what you’ve learnt in this step.