The caption is “the night couldn’t have been better with you girls” but I was wondering, shouldn’t it be “without you girls”? Because you couldn’t have had a great time “without” the help of your friends. Am I right?

  • Hi cynthia, welcome to our site. I've edited your post to fix the poor expression. Please note that it's somewhat disrespectful to the serious English language enthusiasts on this site to eschew basic written conventions such as correct capitalisation and punctuation. And especially, please avoid things like "amirite": it's unlikely to encourage a positive response to a question about good English. For further guidance, see How to Ask and take the EL&U Tour. :-) Jun 3, 2019 at 3:50
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    @Chappo - Makes me think: "Do you like my ring? It's a 2kt amirite."
    – Jim
    Jun 3, 2019 at 4:25
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    @Jim For rings, amirite is always 24 carat. For stones, it's tricky: 2ct sounds better than 1ct, but if the former is cubic zirconia and the latter is a Kimberley pink, only the latter is amirite. Jun 3, 2019 at 7:07

2 Answers 2


Your understanding of the words is correct; if something couldn't be better then it was unsurpassably good, or perfect.

Your parsing is off, however. It isn't

[the night couldn't have been better] [with you girls]

but that

[the night .. with you girls] [couldn't have been better]

Whether the participation of "you girls" was necessary for the goodness of the night was required is incidental to their presence at it.

  • The OP's parsing is 'off' relative to what we can reasonably guess to have been the intention of the person who wrote the caption. If one considers the syntax of the caption in the abstract, the OP's reading is, however, perfectly reasonable.
    – jsw29
    Oct 25, 2020 at 21:12

No, the sentence is correct. Couldn't be better or in this form, couldn't have been better is an idiom.

According to Free Dictionary, its meaning is:

(One's well-being or the state of something) is perfect, exactly as desired, or better than expected.


So we can interpret this sentence as follows:

The night was perfect/exactly as desired/better than expected with you girls.

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