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CAN vs COULD
The modal verb CAN is mainly about Ability
He can swim
I can dance like Jagger
The modal verb COULD is the past tense of CAN
He can swim.
He could swim at a very young age.
It was so noisy that we couldn’t hear anything at the meeting yesterday.
Could you hear what he said?
The question form of CAN and COULD is often used for making Requests/Permission.
Can you lend me your pen?
Could you help me with my homework?
The difference is that “Can” is more casual and “Could” is more polite
Can you lend me your car? Casual
Could you lend me your car, please? Polite
It is not about Ability, it is about Request
Request and Ability is what I call the Function of the grammar.
Can I borrow your car?
Could I borrow your car?
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Native V Non Native