Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 30 – Grammar – Using Can for Universal Truths

Can is used to talk about things that are often true or that are possible.

(Be able to cannot) be used as a synonym for can in the sense.)

Handmade items are very beautiful.

Writers often hedge their use of can with adverbs such as sometimes, often, usually, and phrases such as in some cases, in some circumstances, and in some situations. This shows that the situation is not necessarily always true.

Handmade items can sometimes be very expensive.

Handsome items can be very expensive in some cases.

In some cases, handmade items can be very expensive.

Sentence Work

Rewrite the sentences with can to express a universal truth.

  1. It is relaxing to create art by hand. It can be relaxing to create art by hand.
  2. People are sometimes reluctant to pay more for imperfect items.
  3. Machinery is used to create things more quickly.
  4. Factories are located in both cities and small towns.
  5. Quilts are made by machine as well as by hand.
  6. People usually understand why handmade items cost more.

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