ABILITY can, can’t, could, couldn’t are used to express ability: Can you drive? Help! I can’t swim. Could you understand what he is saying? She couldn’t dance very well. # can have a present and a future meaning. I can finish it tomorrow . # could have a past meaning I could swim when I was five. We can also use be able to for ability, and it’s easier to do this in the past and future : I can’t do it now. I will be able to do it later . They were able to complete the job last week. We use be able to in the present perfect tense : I have been able to type three of the letters, but I haven’t been able to type the other one. We are more likely to use be able to when something was difficult : At first we couldn’t do it because there was a problem, but finally we were able to do it. We use this/these to refer to the people and things, situations and experiences that are close to the speaker or very close in time. We use that/those to refer to people and th
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