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La diferencia entre ´Can´ y ´Could´

Hola amig@s de Bogotá Business English! A continuación te presento una muy buena explicación de la diferencia de las palabras can y could en inglés.


“Can” y “could” se utilizan para expresar permisoposibilidad o habilidad. Como regla general “can” se utiliza en el presente y “could” en el pasado, pero hay ciertos matices:

a) Posibilidad / habilidad

En el presente “can” y en el pasado “could” o “was / were able”.

With the new motorway you can go from Madrid to Barcelona in less than 4 hours

Ten years ago you could go from Madrid to Barcelona in 6 hours

can play tennis

could (was able) to play tennis when I was a child

“Could” también se utiliza con un sentido condicional, mientras que en el futuro se emplea “will be able”:

If I had money I could buy a new car

In two years I will be able to speak English fluently

b) Permiso

En el presente distinguimos:

– Tener o pedir permiso“can” tiene un sentido informal y “could”formal.

can use the company’s car for my private trips (informal)

could use the company’s car for my private trips (formal)

Can I borrow your car ? (informal)

Could I borrow your car ? (formal)

– Dar permiso: se utiliza “can”“could” únicamente se emplea con un sentido condicional.

Tonight you can stay with us

If you don’t find any other place, you could stay with

En el pasado se utiliza “could” y en el futuro “can”.

c) Ofrecimiento

Sólo se utiliza “can”.

Can I help you



Expressing Agreement and Disagreement with Auxiliary Verbs

Expressing agreement and disagreement in English during a conversation is something that many Spanish-speakers have trouble with. Today we’re going to practice simple and effective ways to help you agree or disagree with others’ ideas and opinions.

Me: “I love learning English at Bogotá Business English!”

You: “Really? SO DO I! They have great English teachers and wonderful customer service.”

OK friends, we have just used the formula (SO +AUXILIARY VERB + SUBJECT) to express that you also like studying English at BBE. This formula is great because it can be used with many different auxiliary verbs to express agreement in different context. Let’s look at some examples:

Me: “I would love to speak English fluently someday.”

You:”SO WOULD I. My boss would definitely pay me more money. Did you know that Juan is studying at BBE to improve his English?”

Me: “Yes, SO IS MARIANA. They say that’s the best way to learn English in Bogotá.”

Do you see how this formula can be used with many different auxiliary verbs to express agreement? Think of some other examples and write them down.

OK, to express our disagreement all we have to do is make a small change to the formula: (NEITHER + AUXILIARY VERB + SUBJECT) If my dog doesn't like you, neither do I

Me: “I don’t think that we can learn English without a good teacher.”

You:”NEITHER DO I. We should try to find private English lessons in Bogota.”

Just like with the SO DO I formula, the NEITHER DO I formula can be changed to use different auxiliary verbs and subjects. Practice writing some sentences using both formulas. You can also watch this video from YouTube to see many more ways to use the formulas we’ve discussed today.

As always, Bogota Business English is here to help you master these concepts with personalized English courses

Many thanks to for the funny image!