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Chapter 5. Altered States: Verbs > All Tensed Up: Using Verb Tense Correctly - Pg. 52

Altered States: Verbs · Can means am / is / are able. It may be used to show the present tense. Today, I can sleep late. 52 I can clean the house--but I won't. · Could means was / were able when used to show the past tense of can. Could also means "might be able, a possibility or wish." In the past, I could touch my toes. I wish I could touch my toes now. Can and could (along with might, must, shall, should, will, would) never change form. Idiomatic expressions with can, could, might, must, shall, should, will, would These words are called "modals." Here's a list of the most common expressions. Table 5-8. Idiomatic Expressions with Modals Example I would rather walk than ride. I would sleep during foreign films. Shall we meet again? Would you mind turning off the radio? Do you mind turning it off? Meaning I prefer to walk. I always sleep in foreign movies. I'm inviting you to meet again. Would you be against doing this? Please turn it off. 4. 5. Invert the subject and all or part of the verb to form questions. The subject and verb change places to form questions. The following examples show this. Table 5-9. Questiossssn Forms Statements He is absent today. Questions Is he absent today?