Which one is correct and please explain it

  1. It can be use

  2. It can be used (by someone)

Second one is passive I know that but is the number 1 is also correct way to say?.

  • #1 is never syntactically valid. #2 could be a "passive verb" usage meaning somebody [unspecified] would be able to use it, but it could also be a "past tense verb form used as an adjective*. As in I'm definitely buying a car - a new one if I can afford it, but if not it can be used (used = second-hand, pre-owned). Jun 12, 2019 at 16:12
  • It can be of use (it's useful). Same syntax as This thing is of value (valuable), That thing is of no interest (uninteresting). Jun 12, 2019 at 16:32
  • @FumbleFingers Must you always give answers in comments? They are not easy to read in relation to questions asked, very often.
    – Lambie
    Jun 12, 2019 at 18:42

2 Answers 2


There is "to be of use" (= to be useful), but no "to be use".

For example, here is a quote from a speaker at Harvard:

“I chose medicine, not because I was scientifically-minded, for I was deeply ignorant of science. I chose it because as a doctor, I could go anywhere I pleased—to far off lands or city slums—and be quite sure I could be of use anywhere.”



The first sentence is not correct.

You can say "It can be used." meaning "Someone can use it". You can also use the noun "use" (/ju:s/, not /ju:z/). "It is of use", meaning "It has a purpose". Similarly you might ask "Is this any use?" Finally, you can say, for example, "Hunting is a use of a gun"

There is also an adjective "used" (/ju:zd/) so you can say "It is used", if you are talking about a used car, for example.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .