Can vs be able to - multiple choice - exercise 2
Multiple choice - can or be able to? Complete the sentences to express present and past ability or possibility.
Be able to multiple choice exercises, gap-filling + grammar rules.
Can + be able to | Ability
1. It is possible to use be able to to talk about a general ability in the present, but can is more common.
Cheetahs can run very fast.
Cheetahs are able to run very fast.
2. We can use was/were able to or could to talk about a general ability in the past.
I could swim when I was six years old.
I was able to swim when I was six years old.
Could is not used, however, to talk about a specific event (one particular action). We must use was/were able to.
Terry was able to play football on Sunday because he wasn't injured.
(This rule does not apply to negatives and verbs of senses or thinking. In these cases both forms are possible.)
3. To talk about a future ability, we use will be able to. Can is not used for future actions.
She will be able to walk in a week or two.
In all other cases we must use be able to.
My sister has never been able to cook.
I'd love to be able to change my life.
Can + be able to | Possibility
Can is used in the present or future to express possibility.
The TV set is broken. We can't watch the film tonight.
Could is used in the past.
You could do it yesterday.
Be able to is used with all other tenses.
We haven't been able to have a shower for two weeks.
I had been able to go to English lessons twice a week before they were cancelled.