English modals, modals of ability in english;
We use the modal CAN to talk about ability in the present.
- I can speak English
- You can drink my tea and read my book then.
- I can meet you tomorrow.
- She is old. She can’t play tennis.
- Can I ask a question?
We use the modal verb COULD to talk about ability in the past.
- When I was 6, I could ride a bike.
- We couldn’t go out.
- What could they draw? They could draw a horse.
- He could speak seven languages in thirties.
As can and could cannot be used to talk ability in all tenses, we use BE ABLE TO in other tenses.
- They are not able to write correctly.
- Will they be able to find the key?
- Will she be able to cope with the work?
- The child is not yet able to write.