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Permission,

e.g.You can takemy umbrella.

Can in this meaning is found in affirmative sentences, inter rogative sentences in which a request is expressed, and in negative sentences where it expresses prohibition.

. You can usemy car. CanI useyour car? You can't usemy car today.

can + simple infinitive =to the present. Can I take your umbrella?

The form could with reference to the present is found only in interrogative sentences in which it expresses a more polite request.

e.g. CouldI useyour car?

The form could is found in reported speech.

e.g. He said that I could usehis car.

Heasked me if he could usemy car.

 

 

4) uncertainty, doubt,

e.g. Canit betrue?


In this meaning can is found only in interrogative sentences (in general questions).

. Can + simple infinitive + stative verb=reference to the present.

e.g. Canhe really beill? Canit beso late?

Can + dynamic verbs+ continuous infinitive

e.g. Canshe be tellinglies?

Canhe be makingthe investigation all alone?

Can + perfect infinitive = refers the action to the past.

e.g. Canhe have saidit?

Canshe have tolda lie?

can + perfect infinitive = an action begun in the past and continued into the moment of speaking. This is usually found with stative verbs.

e.g. Canshe really have beenat home all this time?

 

can + dynamic verb = the Perfect Continuous infinitive is used.

e.g. Canshe have been waitingfor us so long?

Could with reference to the present is also used in this way, implying more uncertainty.

e.g. Couldit betrue?

Couldshe be tellinglies?

Couldhe have saidit?

Couldshe have been waiting for us so long?

 

5) improbability, e.g. It can't betrue. (Это не может быть правдой. Вряд ли это так.)

In this meaning can is found only in negative sentences/

e.g. He can't bereally ill. She can't be tellinglies. He can't have saidit.

She can't have beenat home all this time. She can't have been waitingfor us so long.

Could is also used in this way making the statement less categorical.

e.g.It couldn't betrue.

She couldn't be telling lies.

He couldn't have saidit.

She couldn't have beenat home all this time.

She couldn't have been waitingfor us so long.

§ 78. Can and could followed by different forms of the infinitive, are found in special questions where they are used for emotional co- louring (for instance, to express puzzlement, impatience, etc.).

e.g. What can (could)he mean?What can (could)he be doing?What can (could)he have done?Where can (could)he have gone to?

 

§ 79. As is seen from the above examples, the form could refer- ring to the present is sometimes clearly opposed to can in that it expresses unreality whereas can expresses reality. This may be ob- served in the following meanings:

ability — He can speak English.

He could speak English if necessary.


possibility due to circumstances —

You can getthe book from the library.

You could getthe book from the library if necessary.

In the other meanings, however, this difference between the two forms is obliterated. Could is used either as a milder or more polite form of can (a) or as a form implying more uncertainty than can (b):

a) permission — CanI useyour pen?

CouldI useyour pen? (more polite)

b) uncertainty, doubt, improbability —

Canit betrue?

Couldit betrue? (less certain)

It can't betrue.

It couldn't betrue, (less certain)

§ 80- In addition to the above cases illustrating the inde- pendent use of can, this modal verb occurs in adverbial clauses of purpose, where it is structurally dependent (for a detailed treat- ment of this use of can see "Verbs", § 143).

e.g. I'llleave the newspaper on the table so that he can see itat

once.

I left the newspaper on the table so that he could seeit at once.

§ 81. Note the following set phrases with can:

a) She can't help crying.

He couldn't help laughing.

/ can't help doing means не могу удержаться от... or не могу не делать (чего-то).

b) I can't but askhim about it. They couldn't but refusehim.

/ can't but do something means {мне) ничего другого не оста ется, как... .

c) Не can't possibly doit.

I couldn't possibly refusehim.

I can't (couldn't) possibly do means просто не могу (не мог) сделать... .

 

May

§ 82.The modal verb may has the following forms: may —the present tense (e.g. It may betrue) and might —the Past tense.

 

§ 83.May has the following meanings: 1) supposition implying uncertainty,

e.g.He may bebusy getting ready for his trip.

 

In English this meaning may also be rendered by means of the attitudinal adverbs perhaps and maybe.

 

the verb may occurs in affirmative and negative sentences.

e.g. He may beat home.

He maynot beat home. (Возможно, что его нет дома. Мо- жет быть, его нет дома.)

In this meaning may can be followed by different forms of the infinitive depending on the time reference expressed.

May + simple infinitive = action to the future.

e.g. He may come soon.

may + stative verb = to the present.

e.g.He may beill.

He may not knowabout it.

May in combination with the Continuous infinitive of dynamic Verbs refers the action to the present.



e.g. It's too late to phone him now. He may be sleeping.

I never see him about now. For all I know, he may be writing a book.

 

May + Perfect infinitive = to the past.

e.g. He may have fallen ill.

 

may + Perfect infinitive = an action begun in the past and continued into the mo ment of speaking. This is usually found with stative verbs.

e.g. He may have been at home for about two hours.

may + dynamic verb = the Perfect Continuous infinitive is used.

e.g. He may have been waiting for us for an hour.

 

In the meaning of supposition implying uncertainty, the form might em- phasizes the idea of uncertainty. It may be followed by the sim- ple, Continuous or Perfect infinitive.

e.g. He might come soon. He might be ill.

He might be doing his lessons now. He might have spoken to her yesterday.

 

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