Could vs Can – Ability

“Could” is a Modal Verb. In fact, it acts as the past tense of the Modal Verb can. This Modal Verb refers to the ability to have done something, Don’t worry, this is not as confusing as it seems, here’s a simple dialogue:

Can you pass the test tomorrow? 

I don’t think so.

Could you have passed yesterday’s test? 

Definitely not.

Alternatively, the speaker could’ve said, “Can you pass the test now?”. If they wanted to use the Modal Verb “can” in the present tense. 

Image representation: A boy giving the test
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Could vs Can – Request

Both “can” and “could” are Modal Verbs. Despite this similarity, “can” speaks of present/future actions, and “could” speaks of actions that occurred in the past. Here is an example of dialogue:

Can penguins fly?

No, they cannot. 

Could they fly a long time ago? 

No, they couldn’t. 

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Adverbs of frequency “never”

“Never” is an Adverb of Frequency. Adverbs of Frequency describe how often an event happens, for example, trains arriving and departing a station.

“Never” means that something doesn’t occur at all, in fact, it’s the opposite of always, which means that something occurs at all times. Can you think of something that doesn’t happen at all?

Humorously, it’s said that one should “never say never,” because they will eventually be wrong. However, native English speakers often use the Adverb “never.” The word is used as an exaggeration. For example, you may encounter the phrase, “You’ll never guess who I saw”. In actuality, you may be able to guess whom the speaker saw, it was a mutual friend. 

A picture representing the above Phrase
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Adverbs of frequency “always”

In all cases, an Adverb describes a Verb, Adjective, or another Adverb. For example, “quickly” is an Adverb that may be used to describe the speed of action. It is often used in sentences like, “He quickly runs”. But today, we are discussing Adverbs of Frequency. Adverbs of Frequency describe how often an event occurs.

There are two types of Adverbs of Frequency, definite and indefinite. Definite Adverbs of Frequency give the exact time of an event, such as hourly. For example, you may hear a native English speaker say, “The train arrives, hourly”. But, Indefinite Adverbs of Frequency are abstract. “Always” is an Indefinite Adverb of Frequency, a few things always happen.

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What is mixed conditional?


When talking to native English speakers, you will encounter Mixed Conditionals. In these sentences, the main clause’s tense differs from the tense of the Object. To clarify, in a Mixed Conditional sentence, the Subject and the Object refer to different periods of time. The Subject refers to the past and the Object to the present or future.
Interestingly, Mixed Conditional sentences discuss an unreal event by using the Conjunction “if.” Here’s an example, “If we had bought a map, we wouldn’t be lost.” Buying the map is not a real event, it’s hypothetical.

A Mixed Conditional contains: If + past perfect… would + Infinitive

The bare Infinitive does not function as a noun., these are somewhat complex, but just know that they are in the final Verb group
Don’t worry, it’s not complicated to make a sentence with the Mixed Conditional. Let’s look at an example:

“If it hadn’t snowed, I wouldn’t be cold.”

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What is Zero conditional?

When talking to a native English speaker, you will encounter the Zero Conditional.  It’s used to speak of rules of games or science. But don’t panic, it’s easy to spot,  Zero Conditionals always have the words “if” or “when” in them. For example, “If it gets below zero, water freezes”. In this sentence, and in all conditional sentences, “if” means in the event that A happens, B will follow. By saying this, the speaker is expressing that  “below zero” = “freeze”

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What is a phrasal verb “Get away”?

A phrasal verb, such as “get away”, contains two or more words, a verb along with other elements of language. While listening to a native English speaker, you will encounter one of these three Phrasal Verb linguistic structures (word orders):

     Verb + Adverb (eg break down)

     Verb + Preposition (eg see to)

     Verb + Adverb + Preposition (eg look down on)

The Adverbs related to these structures (syntaxes) are referred to as Adverbs of Manner. They are always placed after the Verb. 

A few common examples of the Adverb + Verb structure are speaking softly, did well, and get away (the subject of today’s lesson). 

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What is a phrasal verb “Get up”?

A phrasal verb, such as to ‘get up’,  contains two or more words, a verb along with other elements of language. While listening to a native English speaker, you will encounter one of these three Phrasal Verb linguistic structures (word orders):

     Verb + Adverb (example: break down)

     Verb + Preposition (example: see to)

     Verb + Adverb + Preposition (example look down on)

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Correct use of the preposition “at” in a full sentence

The preposition “at” is used in expressing the particular location of an item or time an event happens, among other things. For example, we are at the lake. By saying this, the speaker is telling the listener that they are located near the lake.

Another example, we go to bed at nine o’clock. By saying this, the speaker is telling the listener the exact time they go to sleep. 

An image representation of the above example
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Correct use of the place preposition “on” in a full sentence

The place preposition “on” is used to describe something that’s physically touching another object and is usually resting on the object’s topmost surface.  For example, it is on the table. By saying this, you’re telling the listener that “it” is physically touching the top of the table, “it” is resting on the table’s top surface. 

Another example, the cat is on the roof. By saying this, you’re telling the listener that the cat is outside and resting on top of the roof. 

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