Grammar Language

Difference Between Can and Be Able to

Difference Between Can and Be Able to

Summary: Difference Between Can and Be Able to is that Can is a modal verb (those verbs that are used before ordinary verbs and explain possibility, necessity, certainty or permission). While Be Able To is a modal phrase/phrase. It is verb+ adjective+ infinitive. ‘Be’ is a verb, ‘able’ is adjective followed by infinitive.

Difference Between Can and Be Able to

CAN

Definition of CAN

Can is a modal verb (those verbs that are used before ordinary verbs and explain possibility, necessity, certainty or permission).

  • Can is used while planning or deciding about near future
  • Can is used to state possibility
  • Can is used to tell ability or skill
  • Can is used to grant permission
  • Can is used to tell way of doing something
  • Can is used to tell the possession of power or right to do something
  • Can is used to express doubt or surprise
  • Can is used to make suggestions
  • Can is used with the words like feel, smell, see, taste, hear etc.

Examples of CAN

While planning or deciding about Near Future

  1. He can go to doctor tomorrow.

To State Possibility

  1. Playground can be emptied in the morning.

To tell Ability or Skill

  1. I can solve both the questions (mental ability)
  2. I can lift both trunks (physical ability).

To Grant Permission

  1. Can I be given this opportunity?
  2. Can I take this ring?

To Tell Way of Doing Something

  1. He can write different stories in different languages.

To tell the possession of power or right to do something

  1. He can change anything according to his desires (right)
  2. Parliament can amend women’s protection bill (power).

To express doubt or surprise

What can he be eating?

Can John be serious about resigning from job?

To make suggestions

  1. I can wash the carpet if necessary
  2. I can take you to meet her, if necessary.

With the words like feel, smell, see, taste, hear etc.

  1. You can hear me now.
  2. I can taste the food you are cooking for you friend.

Pronunciation of Can

/kən/ /kæn/

Etymology

From can, first and third person singular of connen, cunnen, from cann, first and third person singular of cunnan, from*kunnaną, from *ǵn̥néh₃-.

Be Able To

Definition of Be Able To

It is a modal phrase/phrase. It is verb+ adjective+ infinitive. ‘Be’ is a verb, ‘able’ is adjective followed by infinitive.

  • Be able is used to show possibility
  • Be able is also used to show skill/ability
  • Be able is used to show success
  • Be able is used after modals
  • Be able is also used for enough either it’s time, money etc.
  • Be able is also used after verbs

Examples of Be Able To

Used to show possibility

  1. You have been able to pass this test.

Used to show skill/ability

  1. I would love to be able to run like you, said john (physical ability)
  2. I would be able to write an article (mental skill)
  3. I wasn’t able to write (past)
  4. I am not able to write (present)
  5. I shall not be able to write (future).

Used to show success

  1. Hardly able to write, he still completed his thesis.

Used after modals

  1. I might be able to complete my work
  2. I should be able to run.

Used for enough either it’s time, money etc.

  1. Harry is able to buy new car
  2. I don’t know I will be able to come.

Used after verbs

  1. You expect to be able to get first position.

Can vs Be Able To

CAN

Modal Verb.

Definition

Can is used planning about near future, stating possibility, telling skill, granting permission, about way of doing something, about possession of power or right, expressing doubt or surprise, making suggestions, with words like feel, smell etc.

Examples
  • He can go to doctor tomorrow
  • Playground can be emptied in the morning
  •  I can solve both the questions (mental ability)
  • I can lift both trunks (physical ability)
  • Can I be given this opportunity?  He can write different stories in different languages
  • He can change anything according to his desires (right)
  • Parliament can amend women’s protection bill (power)
  • What can he be eating?
  • I can wash the carpet if necessary
  • You can hear me now.

Be Able To

Modal Phrase.

Definition

Be able to is used to show possibility, to show skill/ ability, to show success, used after modals, used for enough either it’s time/ money, used after verbs.

 

Examples
  • You have been able to pass this test
  • I would love to be able to run like you, said john (physical ability)
  • I would be able to write an article (mental skill)
  • I wasn’t able to write (past)
  • I am not able to write (present)
  • I shall not be able to write (future)
  • Hardly able to write, he still completed his thesis
  • I might be able to complete my work
  • I should be able to run
  • Harry is able to buy new car
  • I don’t know I will be to come
  • You expect to be able to get first position.

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