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01 January 2015

Grammar: COULD versus WAS ABLE TO

  • Could (as past tense of can) denotes ability but it does not denote completion of the action.
  • Was able to (as past tense of can) denotes ability and completion of the action.


Compare:
  1. Last night, I could do my homework. (This does not mean that you actually finished your homework. Maybe you finished or not. You only declared that you had the ability)
  2. Last night, I was able to do my homework. (This means you had the ability and you really finished the action.)

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