Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [could]

The tag has no usage guidance.

0
votes
0answers
14 views

Past modal required or can be omitted (example)

I had a few native speakers disagreed over the following sentence: She was treated harshly but she stayed with them. If she wanted, she could simply run away (//all those years). Now while some ...
-1
votes
0answers
20 views

Could be able to?

Is it possible to say something like She could be able to help you. With could meaning "future possibility" I know it is possible to say it with may/might
0
votes
2answers
29 views

Meaning of “could” in a question. Implied condition

I have a question concerning the meaning of "could" in this sentence: "It could refer back to the subject, Jane, or it could refer to somebody else." As I understand this, there's an implied ...
1
vote
2answers
51 views

Meaning of “could” in these sentences

Good day everyone. So I have Michael Swan's grammar book "Practical English Usage" and there's a couple of sections concerning to usage of "could". So in 82.3 it says that we use could to talk about ...
0
votes
2answers
46 views

The rebels [could / were able to] draw on the support of over 20,000 soldiers

I don't understand why both are correct answers. Isn't it supposed to use [be able to] rather than [could] if the situation is a specific event in a specific moment, which I think is this case? For ...
2
votes
1answer
39 views

In this sentence, “could” what meaning does it have?

"I sought only to open your eyes to the world we could create together." In this phrase, does "could" refer to the past or is it a possibility about something that could happen in the future? The ...
0
votes
1answer
37 views

COULD vs. COULD HAVE when talking about the past [duplicate]

I have long had difficulty distinguishing between COULD and COULD HAVE. I have two specific examples that I'm not exactly sure of. Could you enlighten me? She needed money so much, she could ...
1
vote
0answers
58 views

What words can replace the conditional words “could” and would"?

The words "could" and "would" are very common words in the English Language. However, they are not always the best words to use. I am trying to find better words to replace "could" and "would". Note ...
0
votes
1answer
16 views

Speculating about past using could [closed]

Is the following sentence correct "could messi have scored that goal?"
0
votes
1answer
239 views

Is it past tense or present tense after the word “could”?

There is yet a law that regulates it, which then could backfire and put him in danger. There is yet a law that regulates it, which then could backfired and put him in danger.
0
votes
2answers
49 views

Could you please update something in a way

I would like to ask somebody to update something using the phrase "Could you please update something" and I would like to add some explanation on what I expect as a result from that update but I'm not ...
1
vote
1answer
157 views

first conditional could modal

I'm trying to clarify why this sentence seems wrong: If there is no strict definition, everyone could understand migration slightly differently. My initial response was that it was wrong, but why?...
1
vote
1answer
75 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
vote
0answers
2k views

'Could have' vs. 'Would have been able to' in a Type-III Conditional

This type-III conditional sentence, “I could not have played volleyball when I was an elementary school student if I had been short.” should be (I think) changed to: “I would not have been ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

Can I use “it could be it” to accept a waitress suggestion?

It happened last Tuesday. I was at a restaurant and the waitress suggested I should order chicken. I nod to her "it could be it". Now I'm wondering, was it wrong to say "it could be it"? I intended ...
-1
votes
1answer
316 views

If you say you couldn't does it mean you can now?

If you use couldn't does it mean you can/ do now? E.g. 1. I tried to fix the machine but I couldn't figure out the problem. (Does it mean I do now?) 2. I was admitted to hospital but they couldn't ...
-1
votes
1answer
39 views

What does it mean “From what could only have”? [closed]

I saw this sentence, and am wondering what does it mean. I also found a shard of glass from what could only have been a Heineken
3
votes
2answers
1k views

How many legitimate uses of “could of” / “would of” / “should of” are there?

After some bad calls using search/replace, I'm curious how many legitimate forms of "could/would/should of" there are. I'm interested in uses that do not derive from, and cannot be replaced by "could ...
1
vote
0answers
247 views

Usage of “could” showing general ability in past

For example, I want to tell someone that earlier it was possible to send telegrams through post offices. (Past ability of post office to send telegrams, which is not in service now.) So which of the ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

what happened vs what could have happened?

What is the difference between 'what happened?' and 'what could have happened? 1) I couldn't see Gina last month. Do you know what happened to her? (or Do you know what could have happened to her?) ...
1
vote
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
1
vote
0answers
763 views

Using could not for possibility/impossibility

Can I use ''could not'' form to say that somebody would not be capable of doing something? Example: He was a popular singer back in the 90's. But I'm sure that he couldn't fill a concert hall (...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

How does Should/Could/Might/… affect the following verbs [closed]

Which sentence is correct? (1) One should avoid the configurations indicated by (i) and (ii), and focuses on setting the values of .... (2) One should avoid the configurations indicated by (i) and (...
2
votes
2answers
200 views

I don't understand what is wrong with this sentence. Can anyone help?

The sentence is: The bank manager was told not to hold him back, so this man could escape It is illustrated in a book as containing an error. The writer reports how judges responded to it and ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Couldn't have put VS couldn't put [duplicate]

Today I came across the following phrase: He couldn't have put it better, when he said: "..." But why does it require perfect tense? Can it be replaced with simple tense instead? He couldn't ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Couldn't and would

I read a quote from "House of cards" that went like: "You're are my best friend, John. I couldn't have it off with my best friend. It would be embarrassing." Is it of any difference if I change "...
0
votes
1answer
70 views

Could vs c̶o̶u̶l̶d̶n̶'̶t̶ may not?

I've seen situations in which they said these phrases: "[...] That could be dead or may not be" (Jim Carrey's phrase in a Series of Unfortunate events) "(=if we had one, it could or it may not be ...
0
votes
4answers
525 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
196 views

How to use 'could'

I actually called her, but before I could finish my sentence she cut me off and told me that she was pregnant. In this sentence, I can't understand why 'could' is needed. How about just 'finished'?
1
vote
2answers
162 views

I could hear something rattling/rattle

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Huddleston and Pullum) says under the section "Past time could" at page 197 that it is possible to say (1) I could hear something rattling. [...
1
vote
2answers
569 views

Grammar correctness of “could” sentence

I would like to know whether the following is correct: Someone is knocking on your door. Who could it be? As far as I know, modal verbs do not change its form in reported speech: He asked ...