I came across the expression “we could might be able to [...]” a few times (although it seems that this expression occurs very rarely).

Example #1 (source):

That adds about 7KB minified, and we could might be able to include it as an optional dependency

Example #2 (source):

If this is the actual problem, we could might be able to use 'cluster_host_map' to map the resource to the host-name.

Example #3 (source):

If we automatically had one context for each pipeline stage and an additional status for each failed job we could might be able to do that in a completely generic way.

Is this construction grammatically correct in English? If no, then why? If yes, then why would one choose to use it, and how is it different from “we could be able to [...]” or “we might be able to [...]”?

There exists a similar question, but it does not mention this particular expression, so I am asking this question to clarify the situation.

  • There is no such expression. Maybe you have seen 'We could/might be able to' where they have been suggested as alternatives? Nov 17, 2018 at 11:42
  • "That said, in this instance it looks like you could might be able to do it all via optional chaining in 1.1, depending on what your objects are:" stackoverflow.com/a/29365473/1002605 Not that I approve of it. Just for fun.
    – Kris
    Nov 17, 2018 at 11:59
  • "Also, you could might be able to use some of pandas indexing tricks to speed things up." stackoverflow.com/a/28949962/1002605 And tons more.
    – Kris
    Nov 17, 2018 at 12:01
  • 1
    I edited the question to include a few examples. But I don't understand what's wrong with this question. Is it off-topic on this site? Nov 17, 2018 at 12:05
  • @lyricallywicked I don’t think the question itself off-topic, but you should edit it to include your own research – that is, detail what makes you think it may (or may not) be grammatical, and what makes you unsure. Otherwise the question may be out on hold as lacking research. Nov 17, 2018 at 12:08

1 Answer 1


All y'all, it's a southern thing, folks.

If Trump applies enough pressure ($$$ and muscle), he could might be able to get Netanyahu and Abbas to sign a deal
("Israel/Palestine: Is there still any hope for a two state solution?" Carleton University, May 30, 2018, pdf 6.09 MB)

It's not acceptable in standard general English writing.

  • 1
    It is also very rare in southern speech, from what I've read about double modals and heard personally. It's an odd use of the double modal, since most instances of 'might' and 'could' together typically have 'might' coming first.
    – eenbeetje
    Nov 17, 2018 at 15:42
  • 1
    Might could is much more common than could might. Nov 17, 2018 at 17:43
  • @JohnLawler I had actually thought the might be could be a parenthetical: "... he could, might be, able to get ..." (... he could probably be able to get...) though still a multiple modal.
    – Kris
    Nov 19, 2018 at 7:35

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