Explanations » A1 Grammar Explanations » Can, can’t – ability, possibility, permission

Can, can’t – Grammar chart

can, can't – ability, possibility, permission

Download full-size image from Pinterest

Can, can’t – Form

Infinitive without to

We use caninfinitive without to.

  • I can swim. blank
  • I can to swim. blank
  • We can’t come. blank
  • We can’t to come. blank

Don’t use -s after he/she/it

We don’t add -s after he/she/it. We use can for all persons.

  • He can swim. blank
  • He cans swim. blank

Don’t use do/don’t

Can is an auxiliary verb and has a negative and interrogative form. We don’t use do/don’t to make questions and negatives.

  • Can you swim? blank
  • Do you can swim? blank
  • He can’t swim. blank
  • He don’t can swim. blank

Can, can’t – Use


We use can/can’t to talk about ability in the present (=things that we know how to do).

  • Laura can sing very well. 
  • I can’t speak German. 


We use can/can’t to ask for permission or to say if something is possible or not.

  • Can I sit here?
  • You can’t vote if you aren’t 18 years old. 
  • I’m sorry but I can’t come to the party. 

Ask for something

We use can/can’t to ask for something and to order in bars, restaurants, shops, etc.

  • Can you lend me some money?
  • Can I have some water, please?
  • Can I have a burger and a soda?