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
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]