I stumbled upon this one sentence in an EFL book.

Could you speak English before you came here ?

The whole chapter is dedicated to can and could.

There are no other sentences around the above one so there is no context I can guess from.

First of all, does this sentence sound natural ?

Second, does it mean

Were you able to speak English before you came here ?

Or is it some weird way of saying,

Could you do something(in this case, speak English) before you come here ?

1 Answer 1


1) The sentence sounds perfectly fine to me.

2) You are correct, it means "were you able to". (Past tense of can)

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