We use could to talk about a general ability somebody had in the past. We use was/were able to to talk about an ability somebody had at a specific time or event in the past.
Choose could, couldn’t, was able to or were able to to complete each sentence.
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My grandfather, who died last year, ___ play the guitar very well.CorrectIncorrect
When I was younger, I was useless at sport. I ___ throw or kick anything.CorrectIncorrect
Your directions were very good so we ___ find the place without any problems.CorrectIncorrect
There was nobody to disturb me so I ___ finish it quicklyCorrectIncorrect
When she was 15, she ___ run the 100 metres in only 11.25 seconds.CorrectIncorrect
Before he got married my brother travelled a lot so, he ___ speak three languages.CorrectIncorrect
Nobody understood what was happening so, the thief ___ escape.CorrectIncorrect