can

I [[t]kən, STRONG kæn[/t]] MODAL USES
(Can is a modal verb. It is used with the base form of a verb. The form cannot is used in negative statements. The usual spoken form of cannot is can't, pronounced [[t]kɑ͟ːnt, AM kæ̱nt[/t]].)
1) MODAL You use can when you are mentioning a quality or fact about something which people may make use of if they want to.

Pork is also the most versatile of meats. It can be roasted whole or in pieces...

Luckily, iron can be reworked and mistakes don't have to be thrown away...

A central reservation number operated by the resort can direct you to accommodations that best suit your needs...

A selected list of some of those stocking a comprehensive range can be found in Chapter 8.

...the statue which can still be seen in the British Museum.

2) MODAL You use can to indicate that someone has the ability or opportunity to do something.

Don't worry yourself about me, I can take care of myself...

I can't give you details because I don't actually have any details...

Oh Stephen darling, how can I ever thank you for being so kind?...

See if you can find Karlov and tell him we are ready for dinner...

`You're needed here, Livy' - `But what can I do?'...

The United States will do whatever it can to help Greece...

I cannot describe it, I can't find the words...

Customers can choose from sixty hit titles before buying...

You can't be with your baby all the time.

3) MODAL You use cannot to indicate that someone is not able to do something because circumstances make it impossible for them to do it.

People who can't afford to go to the theatre or concerts can afford to go to football matches...

We cannot buy food, clothes and pay for rent and utilities on $20 a week...

She cannot sleep and the pain is often so bad she wants to scream.

4) MODAL You use can to indicate that something is true sometimes or is true in some circumstances.

...long-term therapy that can last five years or more...

A vacant lot or a bombsite can, to the amateur naturalist, produce an extraordinary variety of flora and fauna...

I've quite forgotten how closed in London can seem...

Exercising alone can be boring...

The speed at which we talk can also convey a great deal...

Coral can be yellow, blue, or green.

5) MODAL You use cannot and can't to state that you are certain that something is not the case or will not happen.

From her knowledge of Douglas's habits, she feels sure that that person can't have been Douglas...

Things can't be that bad...

You can't be serious, Mrs Lorimer?

6) MODAL You use can to indicate that someone is allowed to do something. You use cannot or can't to indicate that someone is not allowed to do something.

You must buy the credit life insurance before you can buy the disability insurance...

No-one can set up a waste disposal company unless they can show that they've got enough money and trained staff to do the job properly...

Here, can I really have your jeans when you go?...

We can't answer any questions, I'm afraid...

I can't tell you what he said...

You cannot ask for your money back before the agreed date...

I'm on tablets and I can't drive.

7) MODAL (emphasis) You use cannot or can't when you think it is very important that something should not happen or that someone should not do something.

It is an intolerable situation and it can't be allowed to go on...

The Commission can't demand from Sweden more than it demands from its own members.

Syn:
8) MODAL You use can, usually in questions, in order to make suggestions or to offer to do something.

What can I do around here?...

This old lady was struggling out of the train and I said, `Oh, can I help you?'...

Hello John. What can we do for you?...

You can always try the beer you know - it's usually all right in this bar.

9) MODAL (politeness) You use can in questions in order to make polite requests. You use can't in questions in order to request strongly that someone does something.

Can I have a look at that?...

Can you please help?...

Can you just lift the table for a second?...

Can you fill in some of the details of your career?...

Why can't you leave me alone?

10) MODAL You use can as a polite way of interrupting someone or of introducing what you are going to say next. [FORMAL, SPOKEN]

Can I interrupt you just for a minute?...

But if I can interrupt, Joe, I don't think anybody here is personally blaming you...

Can I just ask something 'cos I'm really quite interested in this.

Syn:
11) MODAL (emphasis) You use can with verbs such as `imagine', `think', and `believe' in order to emphasize how you feel about a particular situation. [INFORMAL or SPOKEN]

You can imagine he was terribly upset...

You can't think how glad I was to see them all go...

It's been an appallingly busy morning, I can't tell you...

I can't understand why folks complain about false teeth.

12) MODAL (emphasis) You use can in questions with `how' to indicate that you feel strongly about something. [SPOKEN]

How can you complain about higher taxes?...

How can millions of dollars go astray?...

How can you say such a thing?...

How can you expect me to believe your promises?

II [[t]kæ̱n[/t]] CONTAINER
cans, canning, canned
1) N-COUNT A can is a metal container in which something such as food, drink, or paint is put. The container is usually sealed to keep the contents fresh.

Several young men were kicking a tin can along the middle of the road.

...empty beer cans.

...cans of paint and brushes.

Syn:
2) VERB: usu passive When food or drink is canned, it is put into a metal container and sealed so that it will remain fresh.

[be V-ed] ...fruits and vegetables that will be canned, skinned, diced or otherwise processed...

[V-ed] It was always roast lamb and canned peas for Sunday lunch.

Syn:
3) N-SING: the N The can is the toilet. [AM, INFORMAL]
4) VERB If you are canned, you are dismissed from your job. [AM, INFORMAL]

[be V-ed] The extremists prevailed, and the security minister was canned...

[V-ed] When I got canned, I took these keys as souvenirs.

5) See also canned
6) PHRASE: V inflects If you have to carry the can, you have to take all the blame for something. [mainly BRIT, INFORMAL]

We are a luxury restaurant and if people have a bad experience, we have to carry the can.

Syn:
take the blame
7) PHRASE: v-link PHR If you say that something such as a job that you are doing is in the can, you mean that it is completely finished. [INFORMAL]

With another day's work in the can, Philip is happy to leave the open countryside and head for his London flat.


English dictionary. 2008.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Can — Can, v. t. & i. Note: [The transitive use is obsolete.] [imp. {Could}.] [OE. cunnen, cannen (1st sing. pres. I can), to know, know how, be able, AS. cunnan, 1st sing. pres. ic cann or can, pl. cunnon, 1st sing. imp. c[=u][eth]e (for cun[eth]e); p …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • CAN — bezeichnet: einen meist männlichen Vornamen, siehe Can (Vorname) den alternativen Titel des deutschen Fernsehfilms „Wut“ von Züli Aladag, siehe Wut (Fernsehfilm) eine deutsche Rockband, siehe Can (Band) im Graffiti die Sprühdose (englisch für:… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • can — noun. Can is the word generally used in BrE for the container when the contents are liquid (a can of beer / a can of soup). When the contents are solid, tin is more usual (a tin of beans / a tin of peaches) but can is used for this too in AmE.… …   Modern English usage

  • CaN — bezeichnet: den männlichen Vornamen türkischen Ursprungs, siehe Can (Vorname) den alternativen Titel des deutschen Fernsehfilms Wut von Züli Aladag, siehe Wut (Fernsehfilm) die deutsche Rockband, siehe Can (Band) im Graffiti die Sprühdose… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Can. — bezeichnet: den männlichen Vornamen türkischen Ursprungs, siehe Can (Vorname) den alternativen Titel des deutschen Fernsehfilms Wut von Züli Aladag, siehe Wut (Fernsehfilm) die deutsche Rockband, siehe Can (Band) im Graffiti die Sprühdose… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Can-Am — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Can Am es una empresa canadiense fabricante de motocicletas, subsidiaria de Bombardier Recreational Products, una empresa multinacional también de origen canadiense. Origen y desarrollo La empresa se originó en 1973 …   Wikipedia Español

  • can — can1 [kan; , kən] v.aux. pt.could [ME < OE, 1st & 3d pers. sing., pres. indic., of cunnan, know, have power to, be able; common Gmc < IE base * gen , *gno > L gnoscere, KNOW; orig. meaning “to be able mentally or spiritually,” as… …   English World dictionary

  • can — Ⅰ. can [1] ► MODAL VERB (3rd sing. present can; past could) 1) be able to. 2) used to express doubt or surprise: he can t have finished. 3) used to indicate that something is typically the case: he could be very moody. 4) be permit …   English terms dictionary

  • Can — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. {{{image}}}   Sigles d une seule lettre   Sigles de deux lettres > Sigles de trois lettres …   Wikipédia en Français

  • can — vb Can, may are often confused in use. In its commonest sense can expresses ability, whether physical or mental {he can climb this pole} {he is only four, but he can read} {he will do it if he possibly can} {when Duty whispers low, thou must, the …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • can — cañ interj. cin (skardžiam suskambėjimui reikšti): Klausau tik cañ cañ su žvaguliais ir nuskambėjo tolyn Ds. Cañ cañ cañ – skambina pietų Gs. Tik cañ – ir iškrito (sudužo) langas Gs. Su nagu užkabinsi už dalgės – tik cañ (suskamba)! Jnšk …   Dictionary of the Lithuanian Language

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