My father CAN PLAY the violin. ability: present My mother COULDN'T DRIVE until she was 40. ability: past CAN I MAKE a suggestion? asking for permission COULD I USE this phone for a moment? asking for permission: more polite You CAN HAVE a break now. giving permission You CAN'T PARK here. no permission CAN YOU GIVE this letter to Fay? requesting COULD YOU PASS me the salt, please? requesting: more polite I CAN DO the shopping if you like. offering COULD I MAKE you a cup of tea? offering: more polite