Difference between Can and Could

Difference between Can and Could

Both Can and could are modal verbs. Could is the past tense of can. It shows the ability and possibility of a person or thing in doing something.

Difference Between Can And Could

Can definition

Can means to be able or allowed to do something. It is used to talk about current abilities or allowed to do something in the present and used in the first form.

Usage of can

  • To describe ability:
    For instance- 1) I can cook.
    2) Dhruv can do the painting.
    3) I can play Casio.
  • To take and give permission:
    For instance - 1) can I play football?
    2) You can go with your friends for an outing.
    3) Can I ask something related to your studies?
    4) You can eat pizza at night.
  • To make a request:
    For instance- 1) can you pass me my water bottle, please?

2) If you wouldn't mind, can you help me in completing my homework?

  • To exhibit some chance:
    For instance-1) eating junk food can impact mental health.
    2) It can be very hot here in the summers.

Could definition

Could is the past tense of the verb can, which defines the past ability or permitted to do something. While taking permission or telling something, could is the most polite and formal than can.

Usage of could

  • To determine that person has the ability to do something:
    For instance- 1) you could have to help when I had exams.
    2) I could have sung all day.
  • To take permission:
    For instance- 1) could I ask one question?
    2) Could I go and talk to them?
  • To make a request:
    For instance- 1) could you make a call, please?
  • To give a suggestion:
    For instance- 1) you could meet your friends this weekend.
    2) You could go abroad for higher education.
  • To exhibit some chance or possibility:
    For instance- 1) you could have get lost in this new city.
    2) You could have gone to Delhi with your family.
  • To imagine or desire something:
    For instance- 1) I wish I could have gone to London after completing my schooling.
  • In conditional sentences:
    For instance- 1) if I had worked hard, I could pass the examination.
    2) even if I had more time, I couldn't have traveled around the
    world.

Comparison between can and could

Basis Can Could
Definition Can means to be able or allowed to do something. Couldis the past tense of the verb can, which defines the past ability or permitted to do something.
Used in Can is used for current skills and ability. Could is used to talk about past skills and ability.
Request and permission Can is an informal or little direct verb. Could is used in a formal and polite manner.
Pronunciation Can is pronounced as Kan, kən. Could is pronounced askəd, kud.
For instance Can you bring me chocolate? I can't wait to meet you. He cannot sing in front of an audience. Could you please attend this webinar? I wish I could send my brother to his dream destination on vacation. You could have called me when you were depressed.



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