can with remember, understand, speak, play, see, hear, feel, taste and smell

  • remember, understand, speak, play
  • These verbs usually mean the same with or without can.

      I (can) remember London during the war.
      She can speak Greek / She speaks Greek.
      I can’t/don’t understand.
      Can/Do you play the piano?

  • see, hear, feel, smell, taste
  • We do not use these verbs in progressive tenses when they refer to perception (receiving information through the eyes, ears etc). To talk about seeing, hearing etc at a particular moment, we often use can see, can hear etc.

      I can see Susan coming, (not I’m seeing . . . )
      I can hear somebody coming up the stairs.
      What did you put in the stew? I can taste something funny.