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Is there any difference between:

I could have done it

I would have been able to do it

I could have been able to do it ?

I think the third one is excessive because it has two the same elements of possibility while the two first ones seem to be equal.

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Ill try and explain a native English speakers perception of the aforementioned.

I could have done it //I could have done it, but i chose not to. (Had no intention to do it at the time of occurrence.)

I would have been able to do it //I would have been able to do it, but someone stopped me. (Had desire to do it at occurrence but was prevented by something else.)

I could have been able to do it ? // This is technically incorrect, "could" and "able" are incompatible like this. Perhaps it might make sense if it were referring to a previous event before an occurrence of it. "I could have been able to do it, but i didn't take the time to study before the test." Even then it doesn't really sound right.

Hope this helps! :) Welcome by the way.

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  • So, if something would have been able to be done, but wasn't due to my own will, I have to use "could have...", if it was due to some circumstances, then I should choose "Would have"? – Michael Azarenko Jun 3 '20 at 8:15
  • As a general rule that would allow your sentences to make sense yes. @MichaelAzarenko – RustyUK Jun 3 '20 at 22:35

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