Person A: What are you skills?

Person B: I can swim, I can drive a car,...

We list them using "can". But can we do the same using "could"?

Person B: I could swim, I could drive a car,...

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can but in a different context.

Look at the difference between the following;

One expresses a reality; the other expresses a situation which either no longer exists or might exist in the future.

I can swim. I plan to train in the pool today
I could swim when I was young but it's a long time since I was in the water.
I could swim if I had the time but I'm too busy at present.

I can drive a car. I obtained my licence a year ago.
I could drive a car until I was badly injured in an accident.
I could drive a car if only I could afford one.

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