Alternative forms


From Middle English

, from Old English

, preterite form of

(deprecated template usage) cunnan (to be able)

. The addition of the silent 'l' was likely a misappropriation attempting to normalize with modal verbs





However, while the letter l was historically pronounced in the latter two, can never did have an l sound in it.


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  1. Template:simple past of
    Before I was blind, I could see very well.
  2. Used to politely ask for permission to do something.
    Could I borrow your coat?
  3. Used to politely ask for someone else to do something.
    Could you proof read this email?
  4. Used to show the possibility that something might happen.
    We could rearrange the time if you like.
  5. Used to suggest something.
    You could try adding more salt to the soup.

Derived terms

Related terms

See also