modal verb past tense could
- 1(indicating ability) forms of(referring to particular skills) forms ofcan you come to the dance this evening?she couldn't answer the question¿puedes venir al baile esta noche?the house can accommodate six peopleno pudo contestar la preguntaI'll do what I canen la casa se pueden alojar seis personasthey did all they couldharé lo que pueda or lo que esté en mi manono can do [colloquial]hicieron todo lo que pudieronI can't stay longno puedocan't you keep still?no me puedo quedar mucho ratoI cannot believe she said that¿no puedes estarte quieto?we can but tryno puedo creer que dijera esowill things improve? — we can but hope socon intentarlo no se pierde nadaI can't but agree¿mejorarán las cosas? — esperemos que sícan you swim/speak German?no puedo menos que estar de acuerdoshe could read music when she was four¿sabes nadar/(hablar) alemán?a los cuatro años ya sabía leer músicaExample sentences
- What they want is one or two books a week which sell in thousands, pretty much as fast as they can unpack them.
- It turns out men and women can set the alarm clock or preset some radio stations with equal ease.
- From the ridge he could see for miles in all directions as the horizon stretched away into the misty mountains.
- 2 2.1 (indicating, asking etc permission) forms of I can't stay out latecan I come with you? you can't go in there, madamno puedo or no me dejan volver a casa tardeyou can stay as long as you likeno puede entrar ahí, señora2.2 (in requests) forms of can you turn that music down, please?te puedes quedar todo el tiempo or todo lo que quierascan I have two salads, please?¿puedes bajar esa música, por favor?¿me trae dos ensaladas, por favor?Example sentences2.3 (in offers) See examples: can I help you?
¿me permite?(in shop)can I carry that for you?¿lo/la atienden?¿quieres que (te) lleve eso?Example sentences
- He emerged from the shop empty handed, and said: I'm sorry, can you lend me £6?
- Can you open that window?
- Can't you be more reasonable?
- We could eat out somewhere and get to know each other if you want.
- Once again, can I reiterate my offer to Mrs Fell to go through any problems she has.
- We could have another go if you like?
- You are told that you can open the door at any time you wish, but only once, and only briefly.
- Only law officers could legally bear arms.
- It takes a couple of seconds to phone a team doctor and check if you can take something.
- 3 3.1 (with verbs of perception) See examples: I can't see very wellcan you hear me?no veo muy bienI could hear every word they said¿me oyes?as you can see, there's a lot of work to be doneoía todo lo que decían3.2 (with verbs of mental activity) See examples: I can't understand itcomo ves or puedes ver, hay mucho que hacercan you remember her name?no lo entiendono logro or no puedo entenderloI could guess what had happened¿te acuerdas de cómo se llama?can't you tell he's lying?me imaginaba lo que había pasado¿no te das cuenta de que está mintiendo?
- 4 4.1 (allow oneself to) (with neg or interrog) forms of you can't blame herI couldn't very well tell him just thenno puedes echarle la culpahow could you?no se lo podía decir justo en ese momento4.2 (in suggestions, advice) See examples: can't you give it another try?pero ¿cómo se te ocurrió hacer ( or decir etc) una cosa así?pero ¿cómo pudiste hacer ( or decir etc) una cosa así?you can't let him have the last word¿por qué no lo vuelves a intentar?4.3 (in orders) See examples: for a start, you can clean all this upno puedes dejar que diga la última palabraif you don't behave you can go straight to bedpuedes empezar por limpiar todo estosi no te portas bien, te vas inmediatamente a la camaExample sentences
- Who but the most resentful can seriously doubt that he, too, belongs on that list?
- How many Japanese mobile phone owners can want to know about North London happenings?
- Now, if a telephone company can't even sort out their own phone lines, how can they sort out mine?
- 5 5.1 (indicating possibility) forms of anything can happen nowwhat can she be doing in there?ahora puede pasar cualquier cosait can't be true!¿qué estará haciendo ahí?¿qué puede estar haciendo ahí?you can't be serious! she can't have finished already¡no puede ser!¡no es posible!he can't be her husbandno puede haber terminado ya5.2 (indicating characteristic) See examples: you can be really stubbornno puede ser su maridoshe can be charming when she wants toa veces eres realmente tercolearning the piano can be funes encantadora cuando quiere or cuando se lo proponeshe's as happy as can beaprender a tocar el piano puede ser divertidosee also → couldestá contentísimaestá de lo más contentaExample sentences
- In just six weeks he has learned that the internet can be an extremely useful tool for research.
- Even November in Florida could be hot, and that day was no exception.
- Inscriptions in public places can also indicate the social status of the artist.
- 1 1.1 (container) a can of tomatoesa can of beeruna lata or (in Spain also) un bote or (Chile) un tarro de tomatesa 4 gallon gasoline canuna lata or (in Spain also) un bote de cervezaa can of worms [colloquial]un bidón de gasolina de 4 galonesthe investigation has opened up a real can of wormsun problema complicadoto carry the can (British English) [colloquial]la investigación ha destapado toda una serie de problemasExample sentences
Example sentences1.2 (for garbage) (American English)
- The emphasis on cans and metal containers has allowed the company to focus on more than just its information and manufacturing systems.
- On the safety side of the issue, rust damage could occur to the bottoms of stored metal containers such as cans of thinner and other combustible fluids.
- The company, which has had to ship coffee in retro metal cans, is now telling retailers supplies will be back to normal by early December.
1.3 (for film) (Cinema) to be in the can [colloquial] (film/take/scene)cubo (masculine) or (Southern Cone) tacho (masculine) or (Mexico) bote (masculine) or (Colombia) caneca (feminine) or (Venezuela) tobo (masculine) de la basurathe contract's in the canestar listo [colloquial]el contrato es un hecho
- Green, clear and brown glass, steel food cans and aluminium cans may be recycled at this venue.
- The waste matter for the blue bin includes papers, magazines, cardboard, food tins, aluminium drink cans, milk cartons and plastic bottles.
- Each eligible household is given a black box to put in newspapers, magazines, glass bottles, steel and aluminium cans, textiles and foil to be recycled.
- 2 (American English) [slang] 2.1 (prison)to be in the can2.2 (toilet) 2.3 (buttocks)estar a la sombra [colloquial]Example sentences
- Robert faces a year in the can for drug money laundering despite claiming that he never realized his cousin was a drug-dealer.
- While he may not have a violent crime on record, he's spent plenty of time in the can for other offenses.
- I do hope that she straightens out, but her actions merit real charges, and time in the can.
transitive verb -nn-
- 1 1.1 (put in cans) 1.2 (bottle)(American English) (fruit)preparar conservas deExample sentences
- Some food companies now are canning vegetables with no salt added.
- By the 1880s canned foods had an important place in popular diet.
- Disregarding the value of your labor, canning homegrown food may save you half the cost of buying commercially canned food.
- 2 (American English) [colloquial] 2.1 (dismiss) 2.2 (stop) (usu in impera) can it!¡basta ya!Example sentences
- Mr Boman said although the June quarter was traditionally slower than the March quarter, the sales slowdown could result in some projects being canned.
- A $3.5-million cleanup project was canned in May 2000 for feasibility problems.
- However, six months after commencement of my portion of the project, my industry sponsors canned their end of the deal.
- A county wastewater employee says he was canned for speaking out against a private company.
- I watched a district and regional manager fire an employee for a more than acceptable reason, and end up getting canned themselves when the employee sued for wrongful termination.
- Needless to say he was canned along with his boss and dismissed from government work
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In some Andean countries, particularly Chile, onces is a light meal eaten between five and six p.m., the equivalent of "afternoon tea" in Britain. In Colombia, on the other hand, onces is a light snack eaten between breakfast and lunch. It is also known as mediasnueves.