The modal verb can explained in English Beginners Course Lesson 9.

English Beginners Course Lesson 9


This tutorial is focusing on the modal verb can and modal like expressions.


1/Sentence Practice

Can I help you? Yes, you can help me. How can I help you?

You can help me with my workload. My workload is very heavy

You are quick and I am slow. Thank you.

I am thirsty.

What can I have? You can have a cup of tea. We can have a break.

Can Janet have a cup of tea? No, she can’t. Why can’t she?

She is not here. She can have a cup of tea this afternoon.

I can’t help you now. When can you help me?

You can send an email. I can see the email. No, you can’t yet

Can you now? No I still can’t. Now I can thank you.

Can you sit? no, I can’t. I can now.

you can; you can’t; you can not. he can; she can, it can; we can; you can they can


2/Vocabulary Practice

  • To help
  • To work
  • A cup of tea – cups of tea
  • Busy
  • A workload – workloads
  • To send
  • To see
  • An email – emails
  • A seat – seats
  • To sit
  • Quick
  • Slow
  • A break – breaks
  • To have a break
  • Now
  • To speak
  • To drive
  • A car – cars
  • To come
  • A party – parties



“Can” is a very useful verb. It is a modal verb which means that it is used to denote the mood of a verb, giving it more nuance, more subtle meaning(s).

“Can” can be used to express:

  1. general ability: I can speak English and Spanish.
  2. a request: Can you pass me the salt?
  3. an offer: Can I help you?
  4. possibility: I can come to your party. or impossibility: It can’t be Fred’s car. His car is red.
  5. permission: You can use my pen (you are allowed to use my pen).
  6. prohibition: You can’t do that! (you are not allowed to do that)

“can” has two negative forms:

  • cannot
  • can’t

“CAN” in the present simple

I can

you can

he / she / it can

we can

you can

they can


Affirmative > Negative > Question

I can speak English and Spanish > I can’t speak Portuguese and Chinese > Can you speak several languages?

You can drive my car. > You can’t drive my car. > Can I drive your car?

I can come to your party. > I can’t come to your party. > Can you come to my party?

Questions and Answers

4/Questions and Answers

Can I have a cup of tea?
No, you cannot have a cup of tea.


What can I have?
You can have a cup of coffee because I have no tea.


Can you help me please?
Yes, I can help you.


How can I help you?
Can you send an email for me?


Can you send it now?
No, I cannot send it now. I have a break.


Can you send it now?
No, I still can’t send it.


Can Janet send the email?
No, she cannot but I can, I can send it now.


Are you quick?
No I am slow.


Can you help me this afternoon?
No, I cannot, I am not here this afternoon.


Can you help me tomorrow morning?
Yes, I can help you tomorrow morning.

Exercises Lesson 9

Comprehension Practice

Vocabulary Practice

Grammar Practice