Level: beginner

We use can and can't to talk about someone's skill or general abilities:

She can speak several languages.
He can swim like a fish.
They can't dance very well.

We use can and can't to talk about the ability to do something at a specific time in the present or future:

I can see you.
Help! I can't breathe.

We use could and couldn't to talk about the past:

She could speak several languages.
I couldn't see you.

Ability: can and could 1


Ability: can and could 2


Level: intermediate

We use could have to say that someone had the ability or opportunity to do something, but did not do it:

She could have learned Swahili, but she didn't want to.
I could have danced all night. [but I didn’t]

Ability: could have 1


Ability: could have 2



Hi bimsara,

No, that is not true for all verbs. It is true for some intransitive verbs (verbs that have no object) such as go, but not always with all verbs. I'm afraid past participles are used in too many different ways to explain for me to explain them all here.

I would recommend that you view this as a particular use of the verb go, not as a general rule to be applied to any verb. There are other verbs that can be used in this way, but it's best learned as a special use of such verbs as you come across them.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for this lesson 

really i benefit from this website

Hello sarah!

I'm happy to know you find the lesson and our website useful. I hope you keep coming back!
Best wishes
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for this lesson and infomation

This is a fantastic site for learning English.
Now a day I have got lots of improvement in my learning skills.so I advice to all new learners, that birtish council is great..
Thanks alot birtish council

Thanks for telling people about us - it's very important to us that everyone gets the opportunity to learn English via our website.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

hi i am shdhiya i am new . can you teach me how to use this web site

Hello Shadhiya!
Well, you should see this website as a library – just borrow whatever interests you! A good place to start is our Elementary Podcasts. These are short radio shows about different topics. To help your listening, vocabulary and grammar, you can listen to them, read the transcripts, and do the exercises. You can talk to other learners in the comments, too. There is lots of other material in our Listen and Watch section as well. If you want to work on grammar, take a look at our grammar section.

Don't forget that we also have a search box. Put a topic you're interested in into the box – like 'meeting people' or 'the present simple' - and you'll get a list of pages about that topic.

We have a lot of different levels on the site, so don't worry if something is too hard – find something easier, and come back to it later. Just try to look at something every day!

Hope that helps,

Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

i study at Iran language institute and I'm at level elementary 3.
i was looking for podcasts good for levels lower than elementary (basic)but i couldn't find them.
please instruct me to understand the levels .
sorry for bad writing