I encountered a sentence in an article. The writer (an Australian) has used both 'could' and 'would' consecutively in a sentence.

The sentence is

But I was determined to make a statement: would could do this, instruction manual be damned.

Is this usage correct? If yes, what is the structure used in the sentence?

extract from article

  • 4
    It’s a typo. It should be we could do this...
    – Jim
    Dec 10, 2019 at 7:11
  • 2
    A typo for "we could" certainly seems the most likely explanation. You sometimes get would and could together in expressions such as "woulda coulda shoulda", to refer to hypotheticals, but that doesn't seem to fit here. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/woulda,_coulda,_shoulda
    – Stuart F
    Dec 10, 2019 at 10:49
  • Could 'would' be used in a sentence where 'could' and 'would' were juxtaposed ?
    – Nigel J
    Dec 10, 2019 at 17:50
  • Would 'could' fit into a sentence so that it was immediately after 'would' ?
    – Nigel J
    Dec 10, 2019 at 17:51
  • 1
    @NigelJ Most anything is possible when you ignore the use-mention distinction.
    – Barmar
    Dec 11, 2019 at 5:37

1 Answer 1


Some dialects do employ "double modals". See Yale University's Multiple modals and other resources.

Example: He might should have been there.

Standard English does not employ double modals. I am unaware if any dialect in Australian English employs double motives or whether this Australian was imitating double modal usage(s) he heard in another English dialect.

It's quite possible that double modals are used somewhere in Australia, given that they are used in certain nonstandard varieties of both American English and British English.

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