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Sentence Patterns using "I can..."

This sentence pattern can be used in a few ways.

Subject + can + verb

We use it to talk about abilities, skills, and talents.
  • I can swim.
  • Birds can fly.
  • She can speak English.
  • They can juggle.
When often use adverbs when we talk about abilities, skills, and talents.
  • She can sing well.
  • I can cook well.
  • The boy can swim fast.
  • She can play the guitar well.
  • They can dance gracefully.
  • He can ride a bike with no hands.
  • The weather can change quickly, so bring an umbrella.
  • She can sing well.
  • They can dance really well.
We use "can" to talk about possibility.
  • I can go to the party.
  • I can meet you in 10 minutes.
  • We can finish tomorrow.
  • They can come to dinner tonight.
  • The company can fire any employee it wants.
  • We can meet you after dinner.
  • He can attend the meeting this afternoon.
We use it to show that someone has permission to do something.
  • He can use my desk while I am on vacation.
  • She can speak after I am finished.
  • We can use this meeting room. Karen said that nobody is using it today.
  • Anybody can watch this movie.
  • Everybody can have a cookie.
Bonus Tips and Points

1. Everybody can dance. Some people can dance well, some people cannot dance well, and other people can kind of dance well. There are different levels of ability, but everybody can dance.

For things that everybody can do (some well and others not well) if we do not use an adverb, then they meaning the person can do that thing well.
  • He can dance.
    (=He can dance well.)

  • She can cook.
    (=She can cook well.)
Use negative sentences to show that a person does not have a talent or ability.
  • I can't sing well.
  • She cannot cook.
  • They can't speak Japanese.
  • We cannot paint or draw very well.
  • We can't ice skate very well. We can only do it a little.
Real-World English Conversations

A) Can you speak any other languages besides English?
B) I can speak Korean well and I can speak a little Spanish.

A) Can you dance well?
B) It depends on the music. I can do ballet, but I can't dance to hip-hop music.

A) It looks like you have a lot of work to do. I can help you if you want.
B) That would be great. Thank you so much.

A) What is today's meeting about?
B) I can't tell you. It is confidential.
A) Really?
B) No. It's about next year's marketing plan.
A) Haha. You joke too much.

A) Can you go golfing this weekend?
B) I can, but I can't go in the morning. I can only go in the afternoon.
A) Okay. The afternoon is fine.

Study these free English lessons to improve your English speaking. If you learn these common sentence patterns well, then your English speaking will improve greatly and you will be able to have fluent conversations in English in the near future! Study the lessons well, practice using the sentences and questions at home and in real life, and make sure to come back to review the material so you do not forget. If you do these three things, then you will be speaking English like a native English speaker in no time!

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