I Can Hear / I Could Hear

Modals: Can / Could / Be Able To


“Can” is used in the following situations:

  • Possibility or Permission: If something is possible or allowed.
  • Ability: If we have the ability to do it.


I can see the river from my room.

Can I use your mobile? My mobile is broken down!

How many languages can you speak? – I can speak 3.

I can help you if you like.


Can not = Can’t


I’m afraid I can’t join the chess club this Saturday.

I can’t sleep well.

He can’t speak English well.


“Could” is used as the past form of “can.” It can also express possibility.


I could see the river from my room.

As far as I remember, I could ride a bike when I was 7.

I couldn’t hear my teacher well at the back.

When I was 15, I could run very fast.

“Could” can also express possibility:

He could get high points in the exam.

I could get there at any time.

The story she told could be true.

I think the weather could change.

As he is tired, he could sleep for hours.

“Could Have” + Verb 3:

“Could have” + verb 3 is used to express unrealized possibilities or past possibilities that didn’t happen.


As he was tired, he could have slept for a day.

It could have been better.

I could have studied for English last week, but I didn’t.

I think everything is good. It couldn’t have been better.

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