1

As a native speaker of English, these two sentences sound acceptable to me:

A full refund can be claimed if the school fails to provide a textbook.

A full refund could be claimed if the school failed to provide a textbook.

But is it not the case that there are situations where both present and past tense cannot be used interchangeably when using "if' to create a conditional clause?

  • When I went to school, full marks could be obtained if the pupil answered every exam question correctly. You can't recast that sentence using present tense can, answers. – FumbleFingers Feb 24 '15 at 16:08
-2

Could is the past tense of can as it is in may/might, will/would. Using a particular form (past or present) must be adhered to.

  • Could I beg to differ? May I beg to differ? Would I beg to differ? Yes I can, yes I might, yes I will. No past tense. – Brian Hitchcock Feb 25 '15 at 12:42

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