Suppose there is a question about how many people there are in some place, and I am presently at that place. I could say:
"I could see a hundred people here."
"I see a hundred people here."
"I could count a hundred people here."
"I count a hundred people here."
It seems the sentences 1, 2, and 3 give approximately the same meaning. Could sentence 4 give this meaning too?
If you are currently at the place in question, then you wouldn't use "could".
Originally Posted by CoolSir
- How many people are there?
- I can see about a hundred people.
Unless you actually count exactly one hundred people, it's better to use an approximation like "about a hundred".
If you were asked how many people had been there after you left the location:
- How many people were there?
- I could see about a hundred people.
Suppose somebody in some current situation give me a box of apples and he claims there are 5 apples in there, but there are only 4 when I look into the box:
"I can see only 4 apples."
"I can count only 4 apples."
"I see only 4 apples."
"I count only 4 apples."
So, the last two sentences are not correct?
Thank you Gillnetter!
Would the verb "find" be allowed too? Would the following apply to the situation in the original post?
"I can only find 4 apples."
"I find only 4 apples."
I don't think "find" is really appropriate when describing simply opening a box and seeing four apples sitting in there. You didn't really have to search for them so you didn't find them. You can say "I found that the box contained four apples" or "The box was found to contain four apples".
I have realised that your thread title was "count", not "could". I misread it originally. Were you asking if the verb "to count" was appropriate?
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