Life Upper Intermediate Unit 11a

National Geographic Learning. Life Pre-intermediate Unit 1b. Present simple and present continuous. Presentation. Present simple. Present continuous.


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You can use can, could and be able to to talk about
The new device can bend light.
They will be able to use the device for a range of uses.
They couldn't say when the device would be ready.
can / could
Use can/can't (cannot) to talk about ability in the
presentand the future. If you want to talk about ability
in the past, use could/couldn't.
It can bend light. ( present)
We can't show you until next week. (future)
They couldn't say anymore. (past)
See also Units 67-69 and 86-89.
be able to
There is no infinitive or participle form (-ed or -ing
form) of can or could. When we need an infinitive or
participle form, we use be/been/being able to.
We'll soon be able to put the device into production.
They haven't been able to find a sponsor.
Being able to speak Japanese is very important.
could and was / were able to
You can use both could and was/were able to to talk
about general abilities in the past:
He was the best person for the job. He could speak
Japanese and he had experience of working in the arts.
I was the only one in my class who wasn't able to /
couldn't swim.
We use was/were able to (not could) to talk about
success in a particular task or activity:
She was able to find a substitute for Tim. (not She could
find a substitute for Tim.)
You can use both couldn't and wasn't/weren't able to to
talk about not succeeding in a particular task or activity:
She couldn't/wasn't able to help him.
manage to and succeed in
You can also use manage to ( infinitive) and succeed
in ( -ing) to talk about success (or lack of success) in a
particular task or activity, but not to talk about general
Once the team manage to perfect their device, they will
be able to put it on the market.
Scientists have succeeded in creating a new device.