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  1. sky3120's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
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      • South Korea
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      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Jan 2012
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    #1

    Usage of 'could have happened'

    A : How are you?

    B: I am great. Quitting the band was the best thing that could have happened.

    This is a dialogue and I was wondering if the usage of the could have happened is the same as

    in

    1) If I you had studied harder, you could have passed the exam. ( Conditional )

    2) That could have been Tom. ( past guess )

    Which one has the same rule, #1 or #2?

    I think that the usage of"could have happened" in the dialogue is the same as that of # 2. What do you native English speakers think? Thank you so much and take good care.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
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      • English
      • Home Country:
      • New Zealand
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      • New Zealand

    • Join Date: Feb 2013
    • Posts: 11
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    #2

    Re: Usage of 'could have happened'

    In all cases could have happened means that there is an a alternative to that which did , will happen .

    Quitting the band could have had a different outcome , what if the band had been called the Beatles?

    If you had studied harder you could have passed the exam . That is only guessing but it is likely more study would have given a better result.

    That could have been Tom, is also only guessing .
    Last edited by Kiwi watcher; 03-Feb-2013 at 08:26. Reason: better spacing

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
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      • British English
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      • UK
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      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 24,997
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    #3

    Re: Usage of 'could have happened'

    Hi Kiwi watcher.

    It's great to have a new native speaker in the ranks, answering learners' questions. As a native speaker though, it's important that your posts are written correctly because learners will read them and assume that they don't contain any errors (except the occasional typo).

    On that basis, please ensure that your punctuation is used and spaced correctly:

    - No space before a full stop, comma, question mark or exclamation mark.
    - A single punctuation mark suffices, except when using an ellipsis where appropriate.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 03-Feb-2013 at 10:26.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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