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  1. #1
    licinio is offline Junior Member
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    Default could for past possibility

    Can I use "could" to express past possibility, such as in

    A wasp could sometimes cause death in those days?

    I'm asking because the answer sheet to an exercise only gave "would".

    Thanks.

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    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: could for past possibility

    I'd prefer 'A wasp sting could sometimes cause death in those days' , but that's just being picky. 'Could' is fine; so is 'would', though the sentence then is rather more fatally definite.

  3. #3
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: could for past possibility

    Quote Originally Posted by licinio View Post
    Can I use "could" to express past possibility, such as in

    A wasp could sometimes cause death in those days?

    I'm asking because the answer sheet to an exercise only gave "would".

    Thanks.
    "Could" is definitely possible here. I think "would" was probably given because wasp stings actually did sometimes cause death. I suppose that if you said "could", then it's possible that no-one ever died from a wasp sting but it was known that it was possible to be killed by one.

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