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https://dictionary.cambridge.org/gra...n-could-or-may has to say this about "can":

1) "Can" expresses what the speaker believes is a general truth or known fact, or a strong possibility:

a) It can be dangerous to cycle in the city.

2) "Could" in the present only expresses weak possibility. "Can" expresses strong possibility:

b) I can travel in July because my exams will definitely be finished at the beginning of that month. (strong possibility)

3) We don’t normally use "could" to talk about general truths which refer to the present time. We use "can" instead:

c) Not everyone can afford to buy organic food.

4) We use "could", not "can", to express future possibility. "Can" expresses that we are certain of something:

d) Working in London next summer could be a great experience.

I'm really confused about the "general truth or known fact" meaning and "strong possibility" meaning of "can". In (1a), the dictionary says, "can" suggests both of these meanings, while in (2b), "can" only suggests "strong possibility" meaning, and in (4d), we cannot use "can" because it would suggest we are certain of something.

Could you please explain with examples when to use "can" properly with the "strong possibility" meaning?

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Rizan Malikwhen to use "can" properly with the "strong possibility" meaning?

You can travel to most places if you are fully vaccinated. (There is a strong possibility that there are no restrictions. I am pretty certain of this but not 100%.)

You can get fantastic bar-b-que at Sam's place. (They have a reputation for this kind of cooking. So there is a strong possibility that you will find the food very good.)

You can hear the BBC broadcast tonight. (The BBC broadcasts every night. There is a strong possibility that you can hear it.)

You can get to the city center on the Number 4 bus. (That is the schedule for that route. However, sometimes service might be cancelled.)

Rizan Malik (4d), we cannot use "can" because it would suggest we are certain of something.

The item 4 is talking about something in the future, not the present - or something that is very close to us in time.

d) Working in London next summer can be a great experience. (I have six friends who worked there last summer and they had great experiences.)

d) Working in London next summer could be a great experience. (I am imagining what it would be like, but I have no personal knowledge.)

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Rizan Malikexamples when to use "can" properly with the "strong possibility" meaning

1) Conjunctivitis is an eye condition that can be caused by an infection or by exposure to chemicals or other irritants.
2) Television is a medium which lends itself to manipulation and gimmicks, so it can be abused by demagogs, by appeals to emotion, prejudice, and ignorance.
3) Doing research on drug manufacturers can be a mind-numbing process, especially for non-tech-savvy senior citizens.
4) It can be hard to find a good place to store long boards in your garage.
5) Painting from the can is still the way most of us do it. It can be messy, but with a little forethought, you can avoid some of the drips.
6) The world can be a very harsh for a single pregnant young lady within the church.
7) Datura stramonium, also known as Jimson weed, can be highly poisonous in large doses.
8) Having a tailor make you a suit can be very expensive, but it's worth it if you can scrape together the cash.

CJ

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Rizan Malikwhen to use "can" properly with the "strong possibility" meaning?

You can travel to most places if you are fully vaccinated. (There is a strong possibility that there are no restrictions. I am pretty certain of this but not 100%.)

You can get fantastic bar-b-que at Sam's place. (They have a reputation for this kind of cooking. So there is a strong possibility that you will find the food very good.)

You can hear the BBC broadcast tonight. (The BBC broadcasts every night. There is a strong possibility that you can hear it.)

You can get to the city center on the Number 4 bus. (That is the schedule for that route. However, sometimes service might be cancelled.)

Q1) In your examples above, does the subject "you" have both a generic and a specific reference at the same time?

Q2) Consider these conversations (some are on the phone) between Susy and Sam about their friend John:

Susy: Sam, tell John that he can travel to most places if he is fully vaccinated. (Their friend John is going on vacation)

Susy: Sam, tell John that he can get fantastic bar-b-que at Sam's place. (Their friend John wants to eat the food)

Susy: Sam, tell John that he can hear the BBC broadcast tonight.

Susy: Sam, tell John that can get to the city center on the Number 4 bus. (Their friend John is looking for some form of public transport to get to the city center)


Are these sentences using "can" correct?

Rizan Malik (4d), we cannot use "can" because it would suggest we are certain of something.

The item 4 is talking about something in the future, not the present - or something that is very close to us in time.

d) Working in London next summer can be a great experience. (I have six friends who worked there last summer and they had great experiences.)

d) Working in London next summer could be a great experience. (I am imagining what it would be like, but I have no personal knowledge.)

OK. So "can" is possible in:

Working in London next summer can be a great experience.

But some might prefer "will" over "can" in the above sentence, right?

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Rizan MalikBut some might prefer "will" over "can" in the above sentence, right?

I would use "will", not "can".

Rizan MalikQ1) In your examples above, does the subject "you" have both a generic and a specific reference at the same time?

It's either one or the other, depending on the context. It is not both simultaneously.

Rizan MalikQ2) Consider these conversations (some are on the phone) between Susy and Sam about their friend John:
...
Rizan MalikAre these sentences using "can" correct?

yes.



CalifJim
Rizan Malikexamples when to use "can" properly with the "strong possibility" meaning

4) It can be hard to find a good place to store long boards in your garage.

CJ

Does it mean that the speaker has found it hard to find a good place to store long boards in "your" garage, so that he can now say:

a) It is hard to find a good place to store long boards in your garage.

b) It can be hard to find a good place to store long boards in your garage.

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Rizan MalikIt can be hard to find a good place to store long boards in your garage.
Does it mean that the speaker has found it hard to find a good place to store long boards in "your" garage ...?

No. That is clearly "impersonal you", so "your" is equivalent to "one's". So the one sentence stands for all of these:

It can be hard for you to find a good place to store long boards in your garage.
It can be hard for me to find a good place to store long boards in my garage.
It can be hard for him to find a good place to store long boards in his garage.

And so on.

The idea is that some garages are like that, no matter whose garage it may be.

CJ

CalifJim
Rizan MalikIt can be hard to find a good place to store long boards in your garage.
Does it mean that the speaker has found it hard to find a good place to store long boards in "your" garage ...?

It can be hard for you to find a good place to store long boards in your garage.
It can be hard for me to find a good place to store long boards in my garage.
It can be hard for him to find a good place to store long boards in his garage.


CJ

But is this also OK as a generalisation:

It can be hard to find a good place to store long boards in Sam's garage.

= It can be hard for anyone to find a good place to store long boards in Sam's garage.

This is only true of Sam's garage.

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