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Questions tagged [can-could]

For questions about the difference between "can" and "could". This tag should also be used for questions about the interchangeability of the two words in a particular context.

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36 views

“Can” or “could” in the mentioned sentence?

Could / Can Happiness bring pain? The above sentence is not meant to mean the past time. "Could", and not "can", is used for past. So, "can" is preferable in the sentence? On the other hand, the ...
1
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1answer
97 views

can vs could in an informal request

Could anyone help me with can vs could in a request? I know 'can' is used in an informal way 'Hi bro, can I use your pen?' and 'could' in a formal way 'Excuse me, could I use your pen please?' But ...
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2answers
49 views

Is it correct to use “could” when confirming something? [duplicate]

"I just want to confirm that I could be included in the committee although I am no longer affiliated with the university" Is the sentence above correct or should I use "can" instead of "could"?
4
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1answer
65 views

Can and Could's usage?

Always I appreciate your answers. Today I made a list of the usage of Can and Could for my better understanding for English. Though, I am still getting used to with this site. Therefore, my list is ...
3
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1answer
426 views

“How could I” and “how could I have” in rhetorical questions

I have a question about using could and could have in rhetorical questions. I was watching a video where a very old man who was talking to a priest about his childhood asked the priest, “How could I ...
1
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1answer
80 views

Is “could” interchangeable with “can”? [duplicate]

Is "could" interchangeable with "can"? for example, there are coversations like these: example. 1 A: I could run faster than you. B: No way. In this case, the "could" is referring to ...
1
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2answers
462 views

inversion with “could” in conditionals

This well-known grammar trick to sound more formal with "were" "had" and "should" in conditional sentences. Is it possible to use it with "could" (and even "might")? "If I could do it, it would be......
1
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1answer
696 views

So, we don't have “can have + PP” in English, do we? but we do have “can't have +PP”, don't we?

Modal verbs like can, could, may, might,.... are very difficult & arbitrary. According to this site: can't have + past participle: I'm fairly sure this wasn't true Ex: She can't have ...
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1answer
219 views

Which is the polite reminder in this case?

I was asking someone to do me a small favour last week, and I know he didn't do it yet. So, I would like to ask him very politely if he did it or not, so he will remember to do it. Which is the right ...
-1
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1answer
613 views

The usage of “could” and “can” in questions [duplicate]

Which of the following is more appropriate? Can you go? Could you go? Is there anything wrong in asking like this "Could you go?"
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0answers
50 views

Difference between can & could [duplicate]

What is the difference between the following sentences? for me both are same. you can search it in google & you could search it in google
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1answer
411 views

could or allowed to

Are both examples acceptable? As I had to go to the dentist, I was allowed to leave work early As I had to go to the dentist, I could leave work early. Does the implied permission legitimise the ...
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1answer
3k views

“*can't do and can't be doing*” meaning differences

What is the difference between "I can't do this" and "I can't be doing this" sentences?
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1answer
118 views

The 'can' confusion [closed]

Every time there is a lesson on modals I am taught that the modal 'can' is about ability. How should I determine when 'can' literally means ability, and when it is just a request? Does the question '...
0
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2answers
123 views

Modals usage can/could [closed]

We were checking some exercises and I wanted to know what's the correct modal to use: Gemma is away in Australia all summer. You ___ (can / see) her yesterday! The answer is can't have seen, which ...
0
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1answer
96 views

present/conditional tense agreement?

Is the following sentence (from a cookbook) grammatically correct? "I am fairly certain that nothing could possibly go wrong when eggs and tomatoes intersect." After this sentence, the author ...
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1answer
340 views

“can give” or “could give” as second verb in a past sentence [closed]

I have the following 2 sentences: "what Pablo said can give you a hint" "what Pablo said could give you a hint" Are they both correct? if no, which one and why? Thank you very much
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2answers
302 views

Usage of 'can't'

Please look at this sentence: " I can't do the fourth and fifth questions but I have done all the other questions" is this correct? Because in first part present tense is used with the usage of "do"...
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4answers
558 views

Does “Could I …?” always sound more polite than “Can I …?”?

For example, if I say Could I borrow your pen? Does it sound more polite than Can I borrow your pen? I am not a native English speaker, but I rarely hear someone says "Could I ...?". Isn't ...
3
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1answer
255 views

Difference in the usage? ; It “can / could / must” be something serious

I'm teaching English in Japan. I'm using "Grammar In Use Intermediate Workbook" (Cambridge). The following is the question in the workbook: Complete the sentence. Use can, could, must or (be) able ...
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2answers
91 views

If XYZ can or could?

I am drafting an invitation to some clients regarding an event our company is holding. The template I am going off suggests closing the email with: "It will be great if [FIRM] can RSVP by March 20th"...
6
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2answers
875 views

Why is it “could” and not “can” in the famous line: “If a face could launch a thousand ships”? [duplicate]

This is from a song lyric If a picture paints a thousand words, Then why can't I paint you? The words will never show the you I've come to know. If a face could launch a thousand ships, ...
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0answers
46 views

When to Use “Could, Would , Will and Can”? [duplicate]

When to Use "Could, Would , Will and Can"? Could you please send me that email? Would you please send me that email? Will you please send me that email? Can you please send me that email? Please ...
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2answers
2k views

Difference beween requests “can”, “could” and “may”? [duplicate]

We can use can, could, and may for requests and permissions, but is there any difference between the meanings of the following three versions? May I go? Can I go? Could I go?
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1answer
171 views

Can I use 'could' instead of 'might' in this unreal situation?

Are might and could exchangeable in this unreal situation? If I were in Tom's position, I think I might look for another job.
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2answers
311 views

Which sentence is wrong? [closed]

Take a look at this part of a conversation: A: I got very wet walking home in the rain last night. |1. You could have taken a taxi. B: Why did you walk? |2. You could take a ...
1
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1answer
1k views

could and might to talk about future possibility

I have problem with using could in the future possibilities for example: They have the technology, but unless the government makes stricter laws, car companies ____ do it. With which one should I ...
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3answers
3k views

If only you could see what I have seen with your eyes

I watch film science fiction The Blade Runer and man says this sentence. he is holding eye in his hand. I see in in a subtitle but I am not understanding this meaning. Can my friends in a Language and ...
1
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2answers
207 views

Past or present to explain an active state in a past sentence

So, I have a sentence, more or less like this: "Gil, who HAS a psychokinesis ability, studied math yesterday." or "Gil, who CAN move things without touching them, studied math yesterday."...
4
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3answers
7k views

Are “should've”, “could've”, etc. valid short forms of “should have” and “could have”?

This is interesting - if I write "should've" (for "should have"), my spell checker underlines the word. Same happens if I do "could've" (for "could have"). I use these forms but I'm starting to ...
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1answer
24k views

Meaning of the phrase “I could tell” [closed]

Context: I was so happy I felt tears starting in my eyes, and then she up and hugged me. I think she could tell.
7
votes
2answers
31k views

Is it incorrect to say “If you could”?

I tend to use the following construction often in my e-mails: It would be great if you could... However my German colleague repeatedly reminds me that according to the rules he was taught, using "...
8
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5answers
3k views

Is the structure “can have verb-ed” possible?

I have seen and heard sentences like these: He could have gone too far. John can't have eaten all the cake. But I don't seem to encounter this structure: She can have done the work. I ...
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3answers
2k views

“Can I have one apple from your box?” vs “Could I have one apple from your box?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do I use “can” or “could”? I was doing some reading on usage of can and could. I understand that can is used when asking for ability, and could for willingness. I would ...
5
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4answers
64k views

“Can have” vs. “could have”

One often hears primarily people from the UK using the phrase can have in certain past tenses. What exactly is the difference between using could have and can have? I used to believe that can turns ...
7
votes
2answers
38k views

“Can” vs. “could” in asking a question [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do I use “can” or “could”? I am a little bit confused about asking a question: Can you please tell me my next work? or Could you please tell me my next work? ...
8
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4answers
39k views

Is either “can” or “could” more polite? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do I use “can” or “could”? I wonder which of the following is more polite: Can you please change my email address? Could you please change my email address? ...
12
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3answers
38k views

When should we use “can”, “could”, “will”, “would”?

Most people say I wish I could, I wish you would. Can we use I wish I can, I wish you will? I'd like to know what the main differences between the usage of can/will and could/would are when ...
53
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6answers
145k views

When do I use “can” or “could”?

When should I use can? When should I use could? What is right under what context?