Be able to: Guide, Examples and Exercises

Be able to is like can. We use it to talk about abilities. We often use it in places where it is not possible to use can

We use ‘be able to’ to express possibility in the past, present, or future.

  1. We weren’t able to drive yesterday (Past)
  2. I am able to drive under this weather (Present)
  3. The roads will be open by tomorrow (Future)

In the next few paragraphs, you will find examples of sentences with ‘be able to’ using different tenses in past, present, and future

Sentences with ‘be Able to’ using Past Tenses

These are some sentences with ‘be able to’ and past tenses

  1. was able to drive
  2. She was able to arrive on time.
  3. She was able to read when she was three.
  4. She was never able to afford a new car
  5. was able to get some really good bargains in the sale.
  6. She was able to spend a lot of time with her family.
  7. I was able to stay in touch by email.
  8. I was able to find my way around without too much trouble.
  9. we weren’t able to get to the top of the mountain.
  10. She wasn’t able to get the job she wanted.
  11. She wasn’t able to go to college because her family couldn’t afford it.  
  12. Only one person was able to beat the record.
  13. She told me she was not able to come today.
  14. They were not able to pay the fine.
  15. She wasn’t able to go through with it
  16. She was able to complete the course in three weeks.
  17. Were you able to find out how much it costs?
  18. I was able to surprise my teacher yesterday.
  19. We were not able to give any answers.
  20. We were unable to afford the entrance fee.

Sentences with ‘be Able to’ using Present Tenses

These are some sentences with ‘be able to’ and present tenses

  1. I am able to speak Japanese.
  2. am not able to give you that information
  3. She is able to speak English well.
  4. Are you able to solve this problem?
  5. have been able to swim since I was five.
  6. Are they able to help us?
  7. They are not able to help you
  8. She’s barely able to read or write.
  9. They’re able to buy whatever they want.
  10. The company say they’re able to keep pricing competitive
  11. I’m not able to come today because I’m very busy.
  12. He isn’t able to finish this job by himself.
  13. Is she able to speak English? She looks like a student.
  14. We’re able to print a total of 10,000 copies.
  15. Have you been able to have any kind of contact? 
  16. I’m not able to move my leg.
  17. He’s not able to swim.
  18. Helen is able to speak five languages fluently
  19. The animals are able to move around
  20. I am able to answer your questions

Sentences with ‘be Able to’ using Present Tenses

These are some sentences with ‘be able to’ and future tenses

  1. I will be able to speak English by the time I’m thirty 
  2. He will be able to solve the problems.
  3. We always will be able to get help from each other.
  4. You will be able to speak perfect English very soon.
  5. He won’t be able to get it done on time.
  6. Are you going to be able to get these results out today?
  7. Is he ever going to be able to get a job?
  8. I don’t know if I will be able to go to the party
  9. She won’t be able to concentrate.
  10. No one will ever be able to stop us.
  11. I am sure that I will not be able to finish the job.
  12. We will be able to be there on time, won’t we?
  13. We won’t be able to help you with your homework tonight.
  14. Are you going to be able to finish this work by Friday?
  15. I don’t know if I’ll be able to come.
  16. You’ll be able to read in peace.
  17. I am not going to be able to come.
  18. He will be able to do his homework when you help him.
  19. I don’t know if I will be able to finish that job by Friday.
  20. You’ll be able to use your arm by the end of the month. 

Video Explanation: Be Able to

This video from the mmm Youtube channel explains the difference between using can, could, and be able to

More Posts about English Grammar

These are some posts about other grammar-related topics

  1. Can and Could: Guide, Examples, and Exercises
  2. Guide to There is and There are
  3. 50 Passive Voice Examples
  4. Prepositions: In, At and On
  5. Simple Present vs Present Continuous
  6. Modals of Ability in English
Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English