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    #1

    "I couldn't have gotten my mother's nose."

    Dear teachers,
    If a girl says to herself,"I couldn't have gotten my mother's nose." What does she mean?
    1. she got her mother's nose, and she doesn't like the nose.
    2. she got her mother's nose, and she likes the nose.
    3. she didn't get her mother's nose, and she doesn't like the nose.
    4. she didn't get her mother's nose, and she likes the nose.
    I am confused. help me please.
    Thanks a million and I am looking forward to your reply.

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    #2

    Re: "I couldn't have gotten my mother's nose."

    None, since nothing about the subject's liking/disliking is implied in the sentence.

    Interpreted according to the range of choices you have specified, it simply denies the possibility of her having genetically inherited that particular feature, e.g. because the 'mother' is not her biological mother.

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    #3

    Re: "I couldn't have gotten my mother's nose."

    the situation is that a group of American dancing girls are talking about their bodies, and one girl says "I couldn't have gotten my mother's nose." and she looks unhappy. the scene is from American Tv series “bunheads” season one, scenario one ,about at the 22nd minute。
    I think it means the girl has her mother's nose and she doesn't like the nose. it means "If only I hadn't gotten my mother's nose!"
    I am not sure. so I ask here.
    who can help me?

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: "I couldn't have gotten my mother's nose."

    I assume she thinks her mother has a cute nose and she didn't inherit one like her mother's, so she is bemoaning her luck.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "I couldn't have gotten my mother's nose."

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I assume she thinks her mother has a cute nose and she didn't inherit one like her mother's, so she is bemoaning her luck.
    I entirely agree. I imagine it was said in a sarcastic or bemoaning tone of voice.

    Oh, right. I got my mother's short legs and fat tummy but I couldn't have got her cute nose, could I? Oh, no. Not me. That's just bloody typical.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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