English Grammar Exercises for B2 – Talking about ability

1. Choose the correct answers. Sometimes both answers are acceptable.

1 Could youWere you able to book tickets for the festival?

2 I answered the phone, but couldn’tdidn’t manage to hear anyone’s voice on the other end.

3 I’ll take phone to the USA, but I can’twon’t be able to make any calls from there.

4 We’re having a party next weekend. Can youWill you be able to come?

5 When the flood came, we managedwere able to climb onto the roof

6 Although she lives in Spain, she can’tisn’t able to speak Spanish.

7could smellsucceeded in smelling gas as soon as I walked through the door.

8 The hill was very steep but we couldmanaged to cycle to the top.

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1 Were you able to   2 couldn’t   3 can’t / won’t be able to

4 Can you / Will you be able to   5 were able to

6 can’t / isn’t able to   7 could smell   8 managed to

2. Tick ✓ the correct sentences. Rewrite the ones which do not use can or could/couldn’t correctly.

1 Sorry, I can’t give you a lift to the party tomorrow.

  ________

2 As soon as Jo arrived, I could see she was upset.

  ________

3 The car park was dark, but we could find our car.

  ________

4 I’m worried that I can’t drive when I’m older.

  ________

5 They couldn’t get on the bus because it was full.

  ________

6 At the age of eleven, Barenboim could play all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas.

  ________

7 As soon as the ball hit mouth, I could taste blood.

  ________

8 He worked hard all term and could pass his exams.

     ________

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     2 

The car park was dark, but we were able to / managed to find our car.

I’m worried that I won’t be able to drive when I’m older.

✓      ✓     

He worked hard all term and was able to / managed to pass his exams.

3. Rewrite the sentences without changing the meaning. Include the words in brackets.

1 Were you able to visit your cousins? (manage)

  ________

2 I can’t play tennis next Friday, I’m afraid. (able)

  ________

3 Will you be able to help at the summer fair? (can)

  ________

4 I was able to book the last seat on the flight. (succeeded)

  ________

5 Were you able to swim when you were five? (could)

  ________

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1 Did you manage to visit your cousins?

2 I won’t be able to play tennis next Friday, I’m afraid.

3 Can you help at the summer fair?

4 I succeeded in booking the last seat on the flight.

5 Could you swim when you were five?

4. Translate the sentences in exercise 3 into your own language.

1 _____

2 _____

3 _____

4 _____

5 _____

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Your own answers

5. Complete the dialogue with the correct forms of can, could, be able to and manage to. There may be more than one correct answer.

Leo 1 _______ finish your science project last night?

Mia No. brother had some friends round. They were so noisy. I 2 _______ concentrate!

Leo 3 _______ work on it tonight? I 4 _______ help you, if you like. I’m interested in climate change.

Mia  Thanks. I 5 _______ find some statistics online, but I need to show them as diagrams.

Leo  6 _______ you draw? I’m not very good.

Mia  Yes. I 7 _______ draw pretty well. Although I 8 _______ probably do it better when I was ten. It was favourite hobby. But I don’t have time now ___

Leo  Don’t worry. After your exams, you 9 _______ spend more time on your hobbies.

Mia10 _______ wait!

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Were you able to / Did you manage to

couldn’t / wasn’t able to

Can you / Will you be able to

can / ‘ll be able to

can / ‘ll be able to / ‘ll manage to

6 can   7 can   8 could   9 can / ‘ll be able to   10 can’t

Challenge!

Complete the sentences with your own ideas.

A few years ago, I could ________

A few years ago, I managed to ________