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when can i use (was able to ) insteade of (could)?
22 de dic de 2009 20:03
Answers · 2
'Could' and 'was able' used for past ability. 1- For ability only, either can be used (we can use 'could' or 'was able'): 'When I was young I COULD / WAS ABLE to climb any tree in the forest.' 2- For ability + a particular action (or situation), use 'was able': 'He was badly hurt but he WAS ABLE to explain what had happened.' This rule, however, is relaxed in the negative when the action did not take place, and with verbs of the senses: 'He read the message but he COULDN'T / WAS NOT ABLE to understand it.' 'He COULD / WAS ABLE to see him through the window.'
22 de Diciembre de 2009
As a small addendum, consider the following examples: "I could work out." So as to mean something like: "I might indeed consider doing some exercises." "It could work out." As an idiom, meaning: "It just may turn out well." As neither of the above sentences contains a 'past ability,' you cannot use "WAS ABLE TO" here. There are instances where COULD and BE ABLE TO can go together even, like: "It was our fondest wish that we could have been able to work it out before his death." Here 'work it out' is also idiomatic, meaning: "to come to an agreement; to resolve."
23 de Diciembre de 2009
Language Skills
Arabic, English
Learning Language