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May si can sunt VERBE MODALE sau ajutatoare: nu primesc s la persoana aIII-a singular, nu primesc do, does, did la interogativ si negativ si sunt urmate de INFINITIV fara to.

A. MAY. Utilizare:

  1. cu referire la evenimente sau actiuni posibile sau probabile in prezent, adesea cu sens de viitor. Might poate fi folosit pentru a sublinia o foarte redusa posibilitate:

There's a black cloud above us. It may rain.

Alice may get angry if you tell her.

If you try hard enough, you might convince him to come.

si cu forma continua:

Call me after eight I may be working hard late tonight.

Alex says he might be going on holiday without his parents this year.

NOTA: formele alternative sunt:

Maybe it wil rain. It is likely to rain.

Maybe Alice will get angry if you tell her. Alice is likely to get angry if you tell her.

  1. pentru a cere, a oferi sau a refuza permisiunea politicos:

May I open the window? It is very hot in this office.

You may go in to see the doctor now.

You may not smoke in my car.

NOTA: forme alternative:

Am I allowed to open the window?

You are not permitted to smoke in my car.

Can I open the window? (can poate fi si el folosit, dar este considerat mai putin politicos)

  1. cu well pentru a indica o foarte mare probabilitate:

I think it may well rain today, look at those black clouds.

The Government may well decide to raise the price of gas again.

NOTA: forme alternative:

I think it is very likely to rain today.

The Government is very likely to deicde to raise the price of gas.

ATENTIE: may / might as well are alt sens:

There is nothing interesting on TV this evening, I may / might as well have an early night. (= Din moment ce nu este nimic interesant la TV, e mai bine sa ma duc devreme la culcare.)

  1. cu o constructie perfecta pentru a face referire la o presupunere in trecut:

Bill isn't at his office, he may have gone home early.

Brian might not have been killed by Sally.

  1. cu o constructie perfecta pentru a face referire la ceva care s-ar fi putut petrece in trecut, dar nu s-a petrecut; se poate folosi numai might:

You might have burnt your hand while taking that hot tray out of the oven (but you didn't).

A lot of people, who might have been saved, died when the Titanic sank.

B. CAN. Utilizare:

  1. pentru a cere, a acorda sau a refuza permisiunea, similar cu may, dar mai putin formal:

You can drive at seventeen in the UK.

Can I borrow your pen, please? I've left mine at home.

You cannot go hunting out of season.

NOTA: forme alternative:

You are permitted / are allowed to / may drive ar seventeen in the UK.

ATENTIE: la negativ, could si might au sensuri diferite. Comparati:

Ken could not be building the house by himself. (It is impossible, it is too much work.)

Ken might not be building thehouse by himself. (He is building the house himself, he probably has help.)

  1. pentru a face referire la probabilitate, posibilitate sau imposibilitate in prezent, in trecut sau la conditional:

Look, there's plenty of snow, we can go skiing today.

Let's try his office, he could be there.

Bill cannot drive for a few weeks, he's broken his leg.

  1. pentru a face referire la abilitate sau indemanare in prezent, in trecut sau la conditional:

She is a great secretary; she can type ninety words a minute.

Can you speak English?

Tim is hopeless. He can't even fry and egg.

If he studied harder, he could pass the exam.

NOTA: pentru alte timpuri, se foloseste be able to:

She will be able to / has been able to type 100 words a minute.

  1. could + INFINITIV perfect, pentru a se referi la o actiune care nu a avut loc:

You could have hurt your back lifting that heavy table.

I could have driven you to the airport, but I didn't have my car.

cand nu stim daca actiunea s-a petrecut sau nu:

Have you seen my umbrella? Dad could have taken it.

NOTA: forme alternative:

You might have hurt your back lifting that heavy table.

You would probably have hurt your back lifting that heavy table.

C. To be able to - exprima abilitatea. Este o alternativa formala pentru can / could in prezent, trecut sau la conditional. Pentru toate celelalte timpuri putem folosi NUMAI to be able to.

The students will be able to speak English well after the end of this intensive course. (viitor)

I have been able to finish all the work. (perfect prezent)

By next July the little boy will have been able to save enough money to buy himself a new bike. (viitor perfect)

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