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Could

Could is an auxiliary verb, a modal auxiliary verb. We use could to:

  • talk about past possibility or ability
  • make requests

Structure of Could

subject + could + main verb

The main verb is always the bare infinitive (infinitive without “to”).

subject auxiliary verb main verb

+

My grandmother could swim.

She could not walk.
couldn’t

?

Could your grandmother swim?

Notice that:

  • Could is invariable. There is only one form of could.
  • The main verb is always the bare infinitive.
The main verb is always the bare infinitive. We cannot say:

I could to play tennis

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