Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 2 – Episode 54 – Grammar – Expressing & Asking about Ability

Since I’ve gone over reported questions and you now understand how can/could is used, it’s time to us them.  We can express and ask about ability by using these, in addition to be able to.

Form                                                                  Example

Present Ability                         

subject + can + base form                                                They can survive  in cold weather.

subject + cannot + base form                                       They cannot survive in cold weather.

subject + is/are + able to + base form                           The professor is able to see me today.

subject + is not / are not + able to + base form      The professor is not able to see me today.


Wh – questions

Wh + can + subject + base form                    What can you remember from the talk?

Wh + is/are + subject + base form               What are you able to recall about that day?


Yes/no questions

Can + subject + base form                                  Can you remember the teachers’ names?

Is/Are + subject + able to + base form               Are you able to remember the details?


Change these statements into the negative.

  1. I can speak Spanish.
  2. That person is able to walk without crutches.
  3. Sheryl can recall all the details from the movie.
  4. Sharks are able to live deep in the ocean.
  5. She can memorize the long story from yesterday perfectly.
  6. I am able to recall all the major news events.

Make one yes/no question and one wh- question for the affirmative statements.  Post them on my Facebook page.


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