# Thread: What's the difference between "couldn't lose" and "can't have lost"?

1. Newbie
Join Date
Apr 2013
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3

## What's the difference between "couldn't lose" and "can't have lost"?

I'm trying to help an English student with the following question:

Kate ( ) her way, for she has come here several times.

1. couldn't lose 2. could have lost 3. can't have lost 4. can be lost

The book states the CORRECT ANSWER is 3. "can't have lost", but the student has chosen 1. "couldn't lose". Is there a simple way to explain why the correct answer is 3? Honestly, they both seem like they could be correct to me, so I had a tough time explaining.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

2. ## Re: What's the difference between "couldn't lose" and "can't have lost"?

Originally Posted by ajtokyo
I'm trying to help an English student with the following question:

Kate ( ) her way, for she has come here several times.

1. couldn't lose 2. could have lost 3. can't have lost 4. can be lost

The book states the CORRECT ANSWER is 3. "can't have lost", but the student has chosen 1. "couldn't lose". Is there a simple way to explain why the correct answer is 3? Honestly, they both seem like they could be correct to me, so I had a tough time explaining.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
They are both possible.

3. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Join Date
Nov 2002
Posts
40,191

## Re: What's the difference between "couldn't lose" and "can't have lost"?

I presume they are trying to test can't have lost for an assumption, but they haven't done it very clearly.

4. Newbie
Join Date
Apr 2013
Posts
3

## Re: What's the difference between "couldn't lose" and "can't have lost"?

Thank you bhaisahab and Tdol. I appreciate your feedback!

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