Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody. My name is Alisha. In this lesson, we are going to talk about some expressions you can use to talk about your abilities. So I am going to introduce some expressions you can use for the past, for the present and for the future. These are just a few examples of some ways you can talk about the things you can, could and will be able to do.
So let's take a look with a few examples of each pattern. Okay. Let's start with the first one. I can plus a verb. So here, the subject in the sample pattern is I but we can replace I with for example, he or she or it or they. The same is true for all of the other patterns I am going to introduce in this lesson. So, we use I can plus a verb as sort of the basic, most simple way to express something we are able to do.
So example sentences. I can speak English. My verb here is speak in this case. So, this could be something many of you can use. Another example. Here, I've changed the subject to She. She. So she can, my verb is Run. She can run 5k. 5k meaning five kilometres in 30 minutes. So these are just some simple, very basic ways to express something we can do. We are able to do. Of course, we can use the negative for this. I can't speak English. I can't speak Chinese for example or she can't run 5k in 30 minutes. We can make the negative with this pattern too. So this is maybe the most basic way to express something you can do, you are able to do.
Let's look at another one. This expression is, I know how to plus a verb. I know how to do something. So, we can use the same verbs we used in the first pattern in this pattern if you like. For example, I know how to speak English is fine. However, we use know how to do something for something that requires like study or something that requires maybe a process. There are rules for that thing. So a sentence like I know how to run 5k, it's not quite so natural because running isn't really necessarily a topic of study. Running requires practice, yes but it's not really something we study.
So we use know how to do something for something we have learned how to do. So not necessarily physical practice of something but we have learned this thing. So some examples. I know how to use Photoshop. So Photoshop is a piece of software, something we can study. Something we learn how to use.
Another example. He knows how to bake cookies. So here, this is something we need to study in other words. So there's a process to baking cookies. He knows how to bake cookies. So please keep in mind as we see in this example when we change the subject from I to for example, He, She or It, the following verb Know needs to change. We need to modify the verb so it has an S at the end. He knows how to bake cookies. So don't forget this S. However, this verb does not change. He knows how to bake cookies. So we don't need to modify this verb. We will only modify the first one which is attached to He, the subject.
Okay. So this is for a process, something we study to become able to do. Now, let's talk about a couple of past tense examples. So these two are maybe present tense expressions. Let's talk about some past tense example sentences. The first one.
When I was a kid, I could and our verb. So here, I've said, when I was a kid, you can change this of course. When I was a student, when I was an elementary school student, when I lived in a different city, for example. So this part can change to a different time period in your life. However here, I am using the past tense, could. I could. So this implies, this suggests that maybe this action is not possible for you now. Let's look at some examples. So when I was a kid, I could swim all day long. So this sentence sounds like now, I can't really. It's just a simple expression with past tense I could. I could.
So maybe the speaker is going to share some more information about their current ability but here I've used when I was a kid. Again, you can change this to like when I was in swimming club for example, I could swim all day long. So there are a lot of different variations you can use with this pattern. Anyway, let's look at another example. When you were a kid. So maybe if a parent wants to talk to their son or daughter about their childhood, they can use this expression. So when you were a kid, you could sleep for 12 hours straight. So 12 hours straight means, 12 hours non-stop.
So You is my subject here. When you, therefore Was in my example pattern changes to Were. When you were a kid, you could sleep for 12 hours straight. So again, this is a past tense expression. Let's look at one more past tense expression. Maybe you are familiar with Used to, Used to. So I used to be able to do something. So where the action is a verb here. So here, we have Used to. So maybe you know, I used to, followed by just a simple verb. So like, I used to cook every day or I used to exercise every day.
Here, we introduce I used to be able to. This expression allows us to explain an ability we had in the past. So let's look at some examples. I used to be able to speak Spanish. Here is my verb, to speak Spanish. Used to shows, a long time ago in the past, I had this ability but now, I do not. So remember, the nuance of Used to is that something was true in the past and it is not true now. I used to. Also, please consider the pronunciation here. So not used to but native speakers connect the D and the T sound at the end of Used and To. So it's not Used to but Used to, Used to. [0:07:08.6] There is just one sound there, Used to. So think of it as dropping the d, Used to. I used to do something.
One more example. She used to be able to babysit. Meaning, her schedule maybe has changed. Now, she cannot babysit. So, here we have some expressions with Used to, to talk about a past ability. Okay. Finally, let's end with one example, a pattern that you can use to talk about future possibilities or future abilities. So, you can use this when you want to make a guess about the future. So something you think you might be able to do in the future. So, the base pattern is, in the future, will be able to, verb.
So here, I have We in my example. We will. So We'll is the contracted form of We will and I've used We in this case, We means all people. All people, all members of society. We, together. So, some examples of this.
In the future, we'll be able to use AI technology. AI is artificial intelligence. AI technology. In the future, we will be able to use AI technology. So, you might wonder why am I using Will here instead of like going to, for example. We use Will when we are making a guess about the future that we can't really see. So, we can't see what's going to happen in the future and maybe we don't have such a strong level of confidence. We don't have a super high level of confidence about our guests. In those cases, we can use Will.
So these are nice to talk about capabilities, things we are able to do or in this case, things we might be able to do in the future. So this is a sentence you can use to make a prediction, to make a guess.
Let's look at one more example sentence. Okay. In the future, we'll be able to travel to space. So here again, I am making a guess about space travel. So I don't have a high level of confidence because I don't know very much about space travel but I want to make a guess. In the future, we'll be able to travel to space. If you want to decrease the level of confidence of your guess, you can include, I think.
For example, in the future, I think we'll be able to travel to space. So you can change the level of your confidence, of your guess by introducing some other phrases like, I think or maybe. All right, so these are a few ways that you can express your abilities in the past, the present and in the future. These are just a couple of different patterns to do that. But, please be careful. Some things that I've noticed are that, often, students will mix up the present tense Can and past tense Could. So make sure to use past tense when you are talking about your abilities in the past and make sure to use present tense for the things you are able to do now.
So please keep that in mind. Okay, so that's all for this lesson. I hope that it was helpful for you. If you have any questions or if you want to try making a sentence with one of these expressions, please feel free to do so in the comments section below this video.
Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye bye!