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4.1 Past Ability (Can/Could) | Grammar, Intermediate English

In this topic, we will learn how to describe our past abilities.

Ability means the power or skill to do something. In the present tense, can is the most common expression of ability. In the past, we use phrases like ‘could’, ‘able to’ and ‘manage to.’ There are different rules of how to use each phrase.

Watch this video to learn more about ability and how to describe it in the past.

Now, practice using the past of ‘can’ with these grammar activities

Exercise 1 – Practice using the past of ‘can’

Complete the following sentence using the correct past form of can (could, manage to, able to) according to the rules from the video.


Exercise 2 – Write sentences about past abilities

Exercise 3 – Listening comprehension, past ability

Attempt the quiz below to review your understanding.