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Mary: Could I borrow your umbrella? John: Yes, you ___. (A)can (B)could

Which is the correct answer to the above question?
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Comments  
A.

Though personally, I think "Yes, you can" sounds a bit stiff.
John: There's the doorbell. Who _ it be? (A) can (B) could (C) may (D) might Mary: Well, it _ be your mother. (A) can (B) could (C) may (D) might

What are the correct answers to the above questions?
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I think the answer is "could". What do other people think?

Hela
Hela,

The use of "could" to mean "can"* is not possible in that context - an "assertive" context.
The use of "could" to mean "can"* in such contexts is restricted to "non-assertive" contexts, e.g., negations and questions.

[ What is true of the "could"/"can" pair in this respect is generally true of the "might"/"may" pair as well:

Might I borrow this book? Yes, you may. (*Yes, you might.) ]

CJ

*which, in turn, is being used to mean "may", (the "may" of permission), by the way.
CalifJimHela,

The use of "could" to mean "can"* is not possible in that context - an "assertive" context.
The use of "could" to mean "can"* in such contexts is restricted to "non-assertive" contexts, e.g., negations and questions.

[ What is true of the "could"/"can" pair in this respect is generally true of the "might"/"may" pair as well:

Might I borrow this book? Yes, you may. (*Yes, you might.) ]

CJ

*which, in turn, is being used to mean "may", (the "may" of permission), by the way.

John: Could I have some more cake? Mary: No, I'm afraid you ___. (A) can't (B) couldn't

A is correct. But is B really acceptable?
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Hmm. Let me rethink how that "rule" has to be stated.

I'm trying to say this:

Could I have some more cake?
No, you can't. *No, you couldn't.

I suppose the "negation" thing doesn't work, does it?

Good catch!

CJ
Can he be working at this time? No, he can't.

Can he be working at this time? Yes, he __.

Which modal verb should I use to fill in the blank?
Use 'can'.

CJ
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