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3. Ability: can, could and be able to

- Practice

A Can and can't (1)

Look at the pictures and say what they can or can't do. Use these words: climb trees, juggle, lift the weights, play the violin, walk on his hands

  • He can walk on his hands.

1. _________________________ 3. ___________________________
2. _________________________ 4. ___________________________

B Can and be able to (2)

Harriet is visiting David, who hurt himself when he fell off a ladder. Complete the conversation using can or a form of be able to. Sometimes there is more than one possible answer.

Harriet: Hello, David. I'm sorry I haven't been able to come (come) and see you before.
I've been really busy lately. How are you?
David: I'm OK, thanks. (1) _____________(I / walk) around now. The doctor says (2) ___________
(I / go) back to work soon. It'll be nice (3) ____________ (get) out again. I hate being stuck here
like this. I haven't (4) ____________ (do) anything interesting.

C Could and was/were able to (3)

  • Which is closer to the meaning of the sentence 'Years ago I could run a marathon'?

a) ___ I ran a marathon at one particular time in the past.
_+_ I was once fit enough to run a very long way.
1. Which of these sentences is correct?
I was ill, so I couldn't go to the party.
I was ill, so I wasn't able to go to the party.
a) ___ only the first one. b) ___ only the second one. c) ___ both of them.
2. Which is closer to the meaning of the sentence 'Sarah was able to leave work early yesterday'?
a) ___ Sarah left work early yesterday.
b) ___ Sarah had the opportunity to leave work early yesterday, but we don’t know if she took it.

D Could and was/were able to (3)

Put in could or was/were able to. Sometimes either is possible. Use a negative if necessary.

  • Suddenly all the lights went out. We couldn't see a thing.

1. The computer went wrong, but luckily Emma ______________ put it right again.
2. There was a big party last night. You _______________ hear the music half a mile away.
3. I learnt to read music as a child. I _______________ read it when I was five.
4. People heard warnings about the flood, and they ____________move out in time.
5. The train was full. I __________find a seat anywhere.

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