Common mistake used to could (be able to)

Common Grammar Mistakes: "Used to Could" vs "Be Able to"

As an English grammar guru, it's important to address common mistakes that many people make. One such mistake is the incorrect usage of the phrase "used to could" instead of "be able to." Let's explore the correct usage and clarify why "used to could" is grammatically incorrect.

"Be Able to": The Correct Phrase

When expressing the ability to do something in the present or future, the phrase "be able to" should be used. For example:

  • I am able to swim.
  • They will be able to complete the project on time.

The phrase "be able to" highlights one's capability or potential to perform a specific action.

The Incorrect Phrase: "Used to Could"

"Used to could" is a common mistake resulting from a combination of two similar phrases: "used to" and "could." When used individually, these phrases convey past ability or possibility. However, merging them together creates an incorrect structure. Here's an example:

  • Incorrect: I used to could play the piano.
  • Correct: I used to play the piano.

In the correct example, the phrase "used to" implies a past action or habit, while "could" is unnecessary since the ability is already implied.

Note: Linguix grammar checker can help you identify and correct such common grammar mistakes!

In summary, it's important to understand the correct usage of phrases in English to ensure clear and effective communication. Avoid using the incorrect phrase "used to could," and remember to use "be able to" when expressing present or future abilities.

used to could (be able to) mistake examples

  • Incorrect:
    I used to could do that.

    I used to be able to do that.

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