Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Episode 42 – Grammar – Can/Can’t

So, can and can’t are used when expressing abilities such as cook, hit, play, ride, etc.

You can also use them with main verbs, too: “I can’t go to the movies today.”

Here’s a rundown of how they work.

a. He can walk up the stairs by himself.

b. The lady can’t go up the stairs and there aren’t any elevators nearby.

c. Can you do it?

d. Yes, I can / No, I can’t

Rule 1: The forms of can/can’t do not change with different subject pronouns (I, you, he, she, we, they).

Rule 2: We use do/does to make questions with can.

Rule 3: We use can/can’t to talk about ability and possibility


I can’t get up at six.

I can read.

We can’t understand.

We can’t speak English

Complete the sentences with can or can’t and these verbs: cook, hit, play, play, ride, swim

  1. My sister _______________. I never eat the things she makes.
  2. My friend ______________ the guitar but he isn’t in a group.
  3. I _______________ tennis.  I don’t have a racket and I don’t know the rules.
  4. Lance and Steve _______________ under the water.  They got 15 meters without air!
  5. You ______________ the ball with your hand in football.
  6. Dave is only four but he ________________ a bike.  He’s pretty darn good at it.




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