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10/26/13

can - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online

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can1

How to use

m odal v erb

can negative short form can't


1

to be able to do something or to know how to do something:


You can swim, can't you?
Even a small personal computer can store vast amounts of information.
Gabriella can speak French fluently.
I'm afraid Mr Harding can't see you now - he's busy.
The police are doing all they can to find her.

ABILITY

REQ UESTING

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spoken used to ask someone to do something or give you

something:
Can I have a cigarette, please?
Can you help me lift this box?
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About LDOC E

ALLO WED to be allowed to do something or to have the right or power to


do something:
You can't park here - it's a no parking zone.
'Can we go home now, please?' 'No you can't.'
Any police officer can insist on seeing a driver's license.

used to say that something is possible:


I am confident a solution can be found.
There can be no doubt that he is guilty.
The boxes can be stored flat.
Can he still be alive after all this time?

PO SSIBILITY

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campsite noun
campstool noun
campus noun
camshaft noun
Camus, Albert
can1 m odal v erb
can 2 noun
can 3 verb
can opener noun
can't
can-do adjective

SEEING/HEARING ETC used with the verbs 'see', 'hear', 'feel', 'taste', and
'smell', and with verbs connected with thinking, to mean that someone sees
something, hears something etc:
Here they are - I can see their car.
Can you smell something burning?
I can't understand why you're so upset.

He can't remember where he put the tickets.


6

NO T TRUE [in negatives] used to say that you do not believe that something
is true:
This can't be the right road.
It can't be easy caring for a man and a child who are not your own.

SHO ULD NO T [in questions and negatives] used to say that someone should
not or must not do something:
You can't expect the world to change overnight.
We can't go on like this.
Jill's left her husband, but can you blame her after the way he treated
her?

SURPRISE/ANGER [usually in questions and negatives] spoken used when


you are surprised or angry:
You can't be serious!
They can't have arrived already, surely!
How can you be so stupid!

SO METIMES used to say what sometimes happens or how someone


sometimes behaves:
It can be quite cold here at night.

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10/26/13

can - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online

It can be quite cold here at night.


Peter can be really annoying.

10 GIVING O RDERS spoken used to tell someone in an angry way to do


something:
And you can stop that quarrelling, the pair of you.
If you won't keep quiet, you can get out.
WORD CHOICE:
can, could, be able to
Use can and be able to to say that someone has the ability to do
something. Be able to is more formal
Can you swim?
Young children are not able to open the bottle.
Use could to say that someone has the ability to do something, but does
not do it
He could do a lot better.
Could is also the past form of can. Use could or a past form of be able
to to say that someone had the ability to do something in the past
She could ride a bike when she was three.
He was able to walk with a stick.
!! In the following cases, you cannot use can. You must use be able to:
with used to, to say that someone had the ability to do something in the
past but no longer does
I used to be able to play the violin.
to talk about future ability. Use will be able to
After only a few lessons, you will be able to understand basic Spanish.
after other verbs, for example might, may, would, want, or hope
He might be able to fix your car.
You should be able to taste the difference.
I want her to be able to use a computer.

Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English


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