Can you start a question with can?

Yes, it is grammatically correct to start a question with can in English. Can is a modal auxiliary verb which are known as ‘helper’ verbs and are used to begin Yes/ No questions.

The rules for starting a question are:

1. Can is followed by the subject (I, You, He, She, We, They, It) and then the main verb:

Can + Subject + Verb
Can you drive?

2. Can is followed by a gerund (a verb ending in -ing) which is followed by the subject or noun:

Can + Gerund + Verb or Noun
Can reading make you smart?

Can reading books make you smart?

3. Can followed by a possessive pronoun (my, your, his, her, our, their, its) followed by a noun and then a verb in the base form:

Can + Pronoun + Noun + Verb
Can her brother swim?

There will be more examples for these three rules at the end of the article to help you! Click here to fast forward.

can question modal example kids in par

As can is a modal verb it helps the main verb to form a question about possibility, ability, permission or obligation.

When asking a yes/no question you always start the question with a modal verb or auxiliary verb.

In these examples can is the helper verb and “rain”, “swim” and “use” are the main verbs:

  1. Possibility:
    • “Can it rain tomorrow?”
  2. Ability:
    • “Can you swim?”
  3. Permission:
    • “Can I use your phone?”

The main verbs need a helper verb or auxiliary verb like can for it to make sense. It allow the speaker to express possibility, ability, permission.

10 Examples of can used in questions

  1. “Can you hear me?”
  2. “Can we meet tomorrow?”
  3. “Can I borrow your charger?”
  4. “Can you open the window?”
  5. “Can she join us for dinner?”
  6. “Can it wait until Monday?”
  7. “Can you send me the details?”
  8. “Can I use your bathroom?”
  9. “Can we take your car?”
  10. “Can they come over later?”

Notice how can is always followed by the subject and the subject is followed by the main verb.

In conclusion, starting your questions with can is not only correct but really handy in everyday conversations. It helps you ask about what’s possible, what others can do, and what you’re allowed to do — all in a clear and straightforward way. Using can makes your questions direct and easy to understand, whether you’re asking “Can you swim?” or “Can I use your phone?” This approach keeps things simple and gets you the answers you need quickly.

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