We use this sentence pattern to show that we hate something or someone. This is a very common expression to express dislike.
Subject + can't stand + noun/gerund...
I can't stand my professor.
I can't stand salad.
I can't stand walking in the rain.
She can't stand her job.
He can't stand waking up early.
They can't stand noisy places.
We can't stand eating outside. There are too many bugs.
We can also use noun clauses after "can't stand".
I can't stand how he talks so loudly.
I can't stand how you are looking at me.
If we change "can" to the past tense, then we talk about things that we did not like in the past.
Subject + couldn't stand + noun/gerund...
I couldn't stand vegetables when I was young, but now I like them.
We couldn't stand her when we first met her, but now we like her.
He couldn't stand his job at first.
There is one more common sentence pattern. This pattern is usually used when we need to give more detail about the specific action or thing that we do not like. "It" does not have a real meaning in this kind of sentence. It is just a placeholder.
Subject + can't stand it + when + sentence
I can't stand it when my brother plays his music loud.
This doesn't mean I hate my brother. I just hate it when he does this one action.
I can't stand it when people throw garbage on the street.
I can't stand it when she leaves her dirty socks on the floor.
My boss can't stand it when people are late.
They can't stand it when their son doesn't listen to them.
Bonus Tips and Points
1. We can make more complex sentences. We use this pattern to give more detail about what we do not like.
Subject + can't stand + noun/gerund + when + sentence
I can't stand going to the mall when it is very crowded.
I can't stand spending time with him when he is not in a good mood.
We can't stand traveling when it is peak season.
They can't stand working on a project when they do not have clear instructions on what they need to do.
My brother can't stand being in the house when my sister's friends are visiting.
Real-World English Conversations
A) I can't stand her. B) Why? She seems nice. A) She seems nice, but she talks about me behind my back.
A) Do you like your new job? B) It's okay, but I can't stand my new boss.
A) I can't stand waking up early. B) You had better get used to it because you are not in university anymore.
A) Do you like mushrooms? B) No, I can't stand them.
A) I can't stand when people talk loudly on the bus. B) I know what you mean. I hate that too.
A) What can't you stand? B) I can't stand waiting in long lines. I get so bored.
A) I can't stand it when people walk around while looking at the phones. Yesterday, a young girl ran into me because she wasn't paying attention. B) I know what you mean. This young generation is addicted to their phones.
A) I can't stand my job. B) Why don't you quit? A) Because I also can't stand not having money.
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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