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English Speaking Practice: Using Could

Use the chart below to practice other common uses of could. Answer the questions--the example sentences will help you form your answers with correct grammar. Reviewing using could as a conditional word.

Example 1
Example 2

using could to refer to permission

1. Write about several things that you could or couldn't do ten years ago.
Ten years ago, I was 12. I could talk on the phone and study. I couldn't watch TV or go out much.
Ten years ago, I was 32. I didn't have my daughter yet, so I could go to restaurants more often.

2. Think about a recent event you attended. What are some things people could and couldn't do?
At the wedding, people could dance and chat. People couldn't talk to the bride and groom very much because it was crowded.
At the business meeting, we could talk about our future goals. We couldn't talk for more than 2 - 3 minutes at a time.

using could to relate a past ability or talent

3. Think of someone who has died. What is something that person could do?

My grandmother could make flower bouquets.
My uncle could fly airplanes.
4. What is something that you could do when you were younger (that you cannot do now)?

When I was in high school, I could play the clarinet.
I could stay up all night when I was in college.

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