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"The April rain, the April rain,
Comes slanting down in fitful showers,
Then from the furrow shoots the grain,
And banks are fledged with nestling flowers;
And in grey shawl and woodland bowers
The cuckoo through the April rain
Calls once again."

Mathilde Blind, April Rain
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The difference between can and be able to

zizoutamlazizoutamla Posts: 20 Inactive
edited July 2017 in English Lessons
The similarities between can and be able to:

· Both modals are be used to express ability

· Both modals are followed by the infinitive

The differences between can and be able to:

§ Can is often used to express ability in the present

“I can speak English”

§ Can is also used to imply a possible action

“He can help you”

§ Be able to, on the other hand, has to be used for a future ability

“I will be able to attend the part”

§ Be able to must be used for a past ability

“The fireman was able to rescue the baby”

§ Be able to must be used in the perfect tenses:

“He has been able to find his lost necklace”

See also: Modals of English:

[url=http://www.englishpagee.com/the-modals-can-and-be-able-to] Can vs be able to[/url]

The difference between Could and Be able to:

Both modals verbs are used in the past; however, was/were able to is used when the ability was turned into action (there was a particular action) in a particular situation.

Notice the difference:

“My father was able to speak French, I didn’t know he could” (in that situation)

“My father could speak three languages” (always)

Post edited by zizoutamla on


  • nampq2nampq2 Posts: 27 ✭✭
    Thank you for your post.
  • roychwroychw Posts: 5
    This is very useful, because I always mix them up. Thank you!
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