Uses of Can and Could

November 6th, 2009 in English Grammar, English Learning, ESL, Improve English

Can
To express ability

Can is used to express present or general ability.

I can swim.
She can knit.
We can speak English.
Can you speak French?
She can draw beautiful pictures.

Uses of Would

November 6th, 2009 in English Grammar, English Learning, ESL, Improve English

In Indirect Speech

Would is the past tense form of will in indirect speech.

Uses of Should

November 5th, 2009 in English Grammar, English Learning

In indirect speech

Should is the past tense of shall in indirect speech.

Distinction between Shall and Will

November 5th, 2009 in English Grammar, English Learning, ESL

The distinction between shall and will is becoming less significant and is now strictly observed only by precise speakers. Shall is becoming much less common with second and third person pronouns. In the first person, however, shall is still being used to talk about simple future.

Uses of Shall and Will

November 5th, 2009 in English Grammar, English Learning

With the first person

Shall is used with first person pronouns to express simple futurity.

Modal Auxiliary Verbs

November 4th, 2009 in English Grammar, English Learning, ESL

The following are the modal auxiliary verbs in English:

Will, would; shall, should; may, might; can, could; must; ought; dare; need

Modal auxiliaries have some common characteristics

Uses of Do

November 4th, 2009 in English Grammar, English Learning, ESL

As a principal verb

As a principal verb do is used in the sense of perform or act.

I did my duty well.
Do as I do.
Can’t you do it yourself?