Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

Do you have a can-do attitude when you’re learning English?

In today’s episode, Lindsay and Aubrey share with you how English speakers use ‘can do’ and ‘will do’.

They will also dive into what a ‘can-do attitude’ means and its cultural aspects.

Listen in and find out today.

Can-do attitude

Lindsay asks Aubrey if she is the type of person who has a can-do attitude.

Aubrey answers that she is.

She is a can-do person almost to a fault.

If there is something put in front of her, she would say that she can do it even if it is unrealistic.

She often forgets to consider if she would have the time or resources to do the task.

Lindsay shares she also has a ‘can-do attitude’.

She was taught by her father to go and take action to do things and be a problem-solver.

She also mentions that it is admirable to have a positive outlook on a challenge given to you.

This is preferable to thinking something wouldn’t work without an attempt.

How pessimism forms

It is possible to fall into this mindset when a person has been in a certain industry for a long time.

When you feel you have seen it all and have experience, you often can’t think of new ways to look at a problem.

Therefore, some developed a tendency to assume a task can’t be done.

This pessimism can come from being set in your ways.

It is often the beginner’s mindset that embraces a can-do attitude.

These individuals are able to find new solutions and see new possibilities.

What is a ‘can-do’ attitude?

A person with a ‘can-do attitude’ is reliable.

They are often a good leader.

Aubrey and Lindsay both agree that they want individuals with this type of attitude on their team.

This expression means you are always up for anything.

It is accompanied by a belief that one is capable of doing what is put before them.

With this attitude, this belief will hold strong until a person is proven wrong.

How to use ‘can do’

There are two different ways to use ‘can do’.

It can be used with ‘can-do attitude’ to describe an outgoing and determined attitude.

Additionally, it can be used to confirm you’re going to accomplish a responsibility given to you.

An example of this is when you are asked a favor.

If a friend asks you to stop by the grocery store and buy some milk before going home, you can say:

“Yes, can do.”

It is also useful when confirming a task sent via email.

You can reply, “Can do!” to an email that asked you to submit a report before the deadline.

Cultural aspects

Lindsay mentions her belief that there is a cultural aspect to the ‘can-do’ attitude.

She believes Americans often have more of a can-do attitude due to the fact that, as a nation, they are a bit young.

They don’t have thousands of years of history, so they can often be seen as foolish and naïve.

Without that long history of narratives, they have less input that certain things can’t be done.

Therefore, Americans often have this can-do attitude.

Aubrey shares that in comparison to her European friends, Americans often have a feeling of invincibility.

They often believe they can do anything they set their mind to.

Lindsay adds that it is easy to create a business in the United States compared to other countries.

This may contribute to the optimism toward business among Americans.

Will do’ versus ‘can do’

Aubrey shares another expression that is often confused with ‘can do.’

‘Will do’ means you are going to do something.

This makes it different from ‘can do,’ which often means you have the capacity to do something.

You can interchange ‘will do’ and ‘can do’ in certain situations.

As an example, Lindsay mentioned that she asked her brother for a favor to arrange some papers.

She sent the message via a text message and he responded, ‘Will do.’

The same conversation would also work if he responded with ‘Can do.’

This is a fast and easy way to assure someone that you are willing to do the task or favor.

Mistake to avoid: ‘will-do attitude’

The expression ‘can-do attitude’ must be used word-for-word.

It is incorrect to say a person has a ‘will-do attitude.’

Lindsay and Aubrey agree that it does make sense grammatically to interchange them in the expression, but it doesn’t sound right.

As with all idiomatic language, the exact words are important.

Responding ‘can do’ and ‘will do’ is a much more informal way of speaking to someone.

In a formal business setting, it would be better for you to say

  • “Yes, I will do that.”
  • “Yes, I can do that.”

Lindsay shares that, on her end, she would often say, “Happy to do that.”

She would add emotion to make it more impactful and personal.

This is a great tip for you to adapt to make a deeper connection with your English-speaking friends and work colleagues.


Lindsay and Aubrey share a roleplay as an example of how to use each in an English conversation.

In this scenario, Lindsay and Aubrey are planning an event and they are checking in on each other to see if they’ve accomplished their assigned roles.

Aubrey: Can you call everyone who signed up to bring something and remind them?

Lindsay: Can do! Did you make the reservation at the venue?

Aubrey: Oh! I forgot. Will do. Can you also pick up the flowers?

Lindsay: No problem!

Aubrey: Thanks for having such a can-do attitude!


Having a can-do attitude is vital for you to reach the goals you have for yourself.

With this outlook in life, you are opening yourself to all possibilities.

In learning English, it is a big help if you have a can-do attitude.

It can be difficult to learn a new language but if you have the right perspective and attitude, nothing is impossible.

Using the expressions ‘can do’ and ‘will do’ will make you sound more like a native English speaker.

Putting in the effort to keep learning and practicing with a positive mindset will bring you closer to your language learning goals.

Do you have a can-do attitude?

Share details with us in the comments to inspire other students!

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