1. It can rain tomorrow.

This is wrong because we don't use "can" for specific possibilities. Although I was told that in questions "can" is fine with specific possibility, for example "Can it rain tomorrow ". Do you agree with that?

  • 1
    I don't think any native speaker would use can to talk about weather predictions; we would use could, may or might. Mar 24 at 9:12
  • @KateBunting What about "it can rain a lot in Winter" ?
    – Astralbee
    Mar 24 at 12:40
  • Or "it will rain tomorrow"/"will it rain tomorrow?" even though you don't expect 100% certainty.
    – Stuart F
    Mar 24 at 12:49
  • With a weather prediction, it's not idiomatic to use can. Can would really imply ability here which doesn't make any sense. Use could, might or may instead. These talk of possibility. It could/might/may rain tomorrow. For a question about the weather: Could it/will it (or, is it going to) rain tomorrow?
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 24 at 13:15
  • @Astralbee - That's a generalisation, not a prediction about the weather in the next few days - as you explain in your answer!! Mar 24 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


"It can rain tomorrow" is not idiomatic at all. I'll try and explain why.

'Can' is a modal verb used to indicate possibility; however, it is used differently than other modals, such as 'could', 'may' or 'might', which is what your sentence needs to make sense.

Focusing just on can vs could, the differences could be summarised as:

  • could indicates that something is possible, but not certain
  • can is used in general statements about what is possible.

So, you may use 'can' to speak about the weather in general, such as "it can rain a lot in winter*" or "it can be very dry during the summer". However, your example is about a specific forecast - tomorrow - so it isn't a generalisation.

  • What about questions? Is there any difference when I use "can" in interrogative sentences? My book says that i can say "who can it be knocking?" Why since it's not a generalisation? Mar 24 at 21:47

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