English Grammar : Auxiliary Verb 'Can'

Use of Auxiliary Verb 'Can' in English Grammar

Uses of Auxiliary Verb "CAN"

"As a modal auxiliary verb 'Can' is most often used to express when a person or thing is physically, mentally, or functionally able to do something."

'Can' is used to express or ask for permission, to describe the possibility, express ability, issue requests, orders or suggestions and making offers.

As a modal auxiliary verb, can is most often used to express a person or thing’s ability to do something. It is also used toexpress or ask for permission to do something, to describe the possibility that something can happen, and to issue requests and offers.
It is used only in the present tense. It goes with all (3) persons. ie. (First , Second and Third person).

Express Ability:
We use 'Can' to express ability (to be able to do something).
  • • She can drive a car.
  • • Jimmy can speak Spanish.
  • • I can make jewelry.
  • • She can’t speak French.
  • Can you open this door?
  • • He can be waiting at station for me.
  • • I cannot hear you. (I can't hear you.)
Describe Possibility:
We use 'Can' to describe the possibility that something can happen.
  • Can this be true?
  • • No, it can’t be.
  • • Alcohol can cause canser.
  • • They can stay with us when they come.
  • • You can buy tickets from the dealers.
  • • You can get very cold there at night.
Requests and Orders or suggestions:
We often use can in a question to ask somebody to do something. This is not a real question - we do not really want to know if the person is able to do something, we want them to do it! The use of can in this way is informal.
  • Can you be quiet!
  • Can you put the TV on.
  • Can I have the bill?
  • Can I have more papers?
  • Can you come here a minute.
  • Can you make a cup of tea, please.
  • • You can do whatever you want.
  • • You can take this seat if you like.
Ask or give Permission:
We sometimes use can to ask or give permission for something.
  • • You can come.
  • Can I do this work?
  • Can I leave now?
  • Can I come in, sir?
  • Can I smoke in this area?
  • • You can park your car there.
  • • You can go on without us.
  • • They can wear jeans at work.
  • Can I use your bathroom?
  • Can I raise the volume?
  • • You can take one of those books.
Making offers:
While it might be seen as impolite to use can to make a request, it is perfectly polite to use it to make an offer.
  • Can I give you a ride home?
  • Can I carry some bags for you?
  • Can I do some shopping for you?
  • Can I help you find what you need?
  • Can I do anything to help get dinner ready?
Types of Auxiliary Verbs
(1) Auxiliary–cum–verbs.

"Auxiliary-cum-verbs" are :

These 11 auxiliaries are also used as verbs, therefore, they are called Auxiliary–cum–verbs. These are used to form Tenses. ( Please refer Tense Table).

(2) Pure Auxiliary verbs..

These 20 auxiliaries only support normal verbs, therefore, they are called Pure Auxiliary Verbs. They are also called Models or Model Auxiliary Verbs.

Related Topics :
Types of Noun in English Language
Types of Pronoun in English Language
Types of Verb in English Language
Types of Adverb in English Language
Types of Adjective in English Language
Kinds of Preposition in English Language
Types of Conjunction in English Language
Uses of Interjection words in English Language


Social Media