I know when we say "Can you...?", it represents you have the ability to do something. But there is a situation: Amy has drunk a lot of alcohol, and she wants to go home. Bob asked her:"Can you drive?" He means if Amy can go home on her own and avoid a car accident. Is it possible?


You've got the main meaning, but let me be a bit more precise...

According to Cambridge Dictionary


to be able to

Amy may know how to drive, she has the ability to drive but she is not able at that specific moment to drive safely because she is drunk.

Also, the question does not imply that she can go home on her own. Bob and Amy may have shared the car, but it's her car, she is supposed to drive both of them home.

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    I think a key word in this context is “safely”. Our inebriated Amy is able to drive, but not able to drive safely. It’s unstated but implied in the question. – J.R. Aug 23 '18 at 9:29
  • @J.R. Thanks for the edit. My bad, we got that verb in Spanish. – RubioRic Aug 23 '18 at 9:44
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    It would make a great verb; too bad we haven’t adopted it in English yet. The best I can think of is fine-tune, which is much clunkier. – J.R. Aug 23 '18 at 9:47

In that situation both were aware that Amy was drunk to some extent, so the version 'Can you...' worked and couldn't be mixed up with the idea that Amy didn't (know how to) drive a car. A more specific question, clear without any context, could be:

Are you in a condition to drive?

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