The usage of "can" (1)

Discussion in '英語勉強フォーラム - Learning English' started by hirashin, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. hirashin

    hirashin Sempai
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    Dear native English speakers,
    would all these sentences sound right?
    ① I can get home about seven o'clock. (get home = 家に着く, 家に帰る)
                                              
    ② The old man can read the newspaper without glasses. (without~=~なしで) (glasses =眼鏡)
                                              
    ③ I cannot help you now.訳>                               
    ④ Can Jane ski well ? No, she can't.
                                               
    ⑤ We can't play baseball.訳>                               
    ⑥ Can you play the piano ? No, I can't. (イギリスでは楽器名にtheが付く。アメリカではしばしば省かれる)
                                               
    問3 それぞれの問題でcan を1回ずつ用いて( )の語数で英訳しなさい。
    ①その赤ちゃん(baby)は、まだ、歩くことができません。(5)(まだ= yet→文末に付ける)
    The baby can't/cannot walk yet.

    ②その男の子はとても上手に泳げます。(6)
    The/That boy can swim very well.

    ③彼らはピアノがとても上手に演奏できます。(6か7)
    They can play (the) piano very well.

    ④私たちはスペイン語(Spanish)が読めません。(4) あなたはどうですか?(3)
    We can't/cannot read Spanish. How about you?

    ⑤君は3時までに戻ることはできますか。(7) いいえ、戻れません。(3)
    Can you get/come back by three o'clock? No, I can't.

    ⑥あの大きな鳥が見えますか。(6) どの鳥ですか?(2) (どの~ = which~)
    Can you see that big bird? Which bird?

    Thanks in advance.

    Hirashin
     
  2. Alex Franke

    Alex Franke Over the river and through the woods

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    If you replace "about" with "by" it sounds correct. You could also have it with the combination of the two, "by about".
    "I can get home by seven o'clock" or "I can get home by about seven o' clock"

    The rest sounds good to me.
     
  3. hirashin

    hirashin Sempai
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    Thank you for the help, Alex.
     
  4. hirashin

    hirashin Sempai
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    How about "I can get home at about/around seven o'clock"? Does it sound off?
     
  5. No, it does not sound off. That is sounds good.
     
  6. hirashin

    hirashin Sempai
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    Thank you for the help, ゴドフィスト.
     
  7. johnnyG

    johnnyG 先輩

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    That sounds perfectly fine to me.

    "at about" or "around" are also fine.
     
  8. hirashin

    hirashin Sempai
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    Thanks for the help, johnnyG.
    How about "at around"?
     
  9. johnnyG

    johnnyG 先輩

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    I can get home at around seven o'clock.

    Perfectly okay.
     
  10. hirashin

    hirashin Sempai
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    #10 hirashin, Apr 19, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
    Thank you, johnnyG.

    Then, would "That US soldier is carrying a rifle" sound correct?
     
  11. johnnyG

    johnnyG 先輩

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  12. hirashin

    hirashin Sempai
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    I see. Thanks.
     
  13. Jorge AVM

    Jorge AVM Kouhai

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    Hi there!

    The sentences are correct and everybody will understand, but In the case of 5 and 6 it seems that “can” is not the proper verb. “Can” is used for something you’re able or not to do, not for something you know or not how to do. For example, when I read “We can’t play baseball”, I understand that we play baseball but in that moment we don’t have authorization to play or by any reason to play is not possible. “Can you play the piano? No, I can’t” Means you play the piano but you’re not able to play in that moment. If you want to mean if someone usually does or doesn't do something, the best is to make a general sentence or question: “We don’t play baseball.” “Do you play the piano? No, I don’t.”
     
  14. Michael2

    Michael2 後輩

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    Sorry, I can't agree with the above (pun intended!)

    According to dictionaries one of the definitions of can is precisely,

    "to know how to:
    He can play chess, although he's not particularly good at it."

    Apart from the general "you", if I said to someone, "Can you ..............?" I would almost always be asking about ability, not if they have permission to do something. If you say "Can you speak Japanese?" you are asking if they have the ability to speak Japanese, not if they have permission to, unless you were being very specific, eg. "Can you speak Japanese in class?" but I would quite probably have to clarify and make sure someone knew I was meaning "Are you allowed to speak Japanese in class?"
     
  15. Jorge AVM

    Jorge AVM Kouhai

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    I said that the sentences are correct, just that in my everyday language in the case of those 2 sentences (5 & 6) I would use a different way, that I consider more natural...
     
  16. Michael2

    Michael2 後輩

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    But you said "can" is not used for something "you know how to do", which I think is precisely one of its uses, and I see no ambiguty in "Can you play the piano?" other than a simple question of ability, which is correct and said naturally all over the world.
     

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