Could someone explain me why we should use "Could"and "Would" in this sentence? can we use "Can" and "Will" instead?

"Is this report something that your team could handle for me? Please review the attached and let me know. I can’t imagine it would take more than 10 minutes a week".

Thanks santhosha

  • Such a question has already been asked here. You could do a search to review the answer(s) as well. In fact, that's what is recommended before you post one.
    – Sankarane
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 9:23

2 Answers 2


The conditional tense is being used as a form of politeness. By expressing a modicum of doubt about the outcome, the respondent is offered the opportunity to refuse politely.

"Is this report something that your team can handle for me?"

"Nope, we're too busy."


"Is this report something that your team could handle for me?"

"We would help you but unfortunately the team is very busy.


"could" softens a request, makes it sound less demanding.

A boss might say, "Can you finish it by today?", which adds an implicit demand that he'd like it done by today. A request for a favour is better asked with "could".

Expressing a conjecture, opinion, or hope:

'I would imagine that they’re home by now'
'I guess some people would consider it brutal'
'I would have to agree'

(More examples: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/would)


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