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  1. #1
    GentleBoy is offline Newbie
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    Default Hypothetical + permission

    Are these hypothetical sentences correct if "could" is used here for "permission (or allowed to)".

    I am wondering if I should use "could have" instead.

    1. You could use the room if the event was not going on. But I am sorry.


    2. I could apply for the post if I was younger.


    Thanks,
    GentleBoy

  2. #2
    probus's Avatar
    probus is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Hypothetical + permission

    1. You could have used the room if the event was not going on.

    That is fine.

    2. I could have applied for the post if I was younger.

    That is also fine.

    Neither case has anything to do with permission. "Could have" is a statement about the past, while your originals were statements about the present.

  3. #3
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Hypothetical + permission

    Quote Originally Posted by GentleBoy View Post
    Are these hypothetical sentences correct if "could" is used here for "permission (or allowed to)".

    I am wondering if I should use "could have" instead.

    1. You could use the room if the event was not going on. But I am sorry.

    You could use the room if the room is not going on (or "being used" or "reserved" would be better). (future, no "sorry"))
    You could have used the room if the room had not been going on ("used", "reserved" would be better) . (past)



    2. I could apply for the post if I waswere younger. (possibility/future)I could have applied for the post if I had been younger. (past)

    Thanks,
    GentleBoy
    b.

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hypothetical + permission

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    I could apply for the post if I waswere younger.
    Many speakers of BrE would accept 'was' there.

  5. #5
    probus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hypothetical + permission

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Many speakers of BrE would accept 'was' there.
    Many speakers of AmE too.

  6. #6
    GentleBoy is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Hypothetical + permission

    I am sorry . I am not clear. Actually the context I am considering is "PERMISSION".

    Example-

    [Talking about permission in the past]

    "I could use his room when he was not there in the city." (Meaning - I am permitted to /allowed to use his room....)


    Same thing (i.e talking about permission) if we consider in a hypothetical context can we make sentence like following ?

    "I could use his room if he was not there in the city. But now I can't. He has come here for a week. "

    The above sentence is right/ wrong in this context ?
    Last edited by GentleBoy; 05-May-2013 at 21:36.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Hypothetical + permission

    Quote Originally Posted by GentleBoy View Post
    The above sentence is right/ wrong in this context ?
    Only context can establish whether your sentences are acceptable or not.

    I am not asking you for more context. I am merely saying that, in the right context, your interpretation of the meaning of 'could' is possible.

  8. #8
    GentleBoy is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Hypothetical + permission

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Only context can establish whether your sentences are acceptable or not.

    I am not asking you for more context. I am merely saying that, in the right context, your interpretation of the meaning of 'could' is possible.

    So, Are you saying the following sentence is correct ?

    "I could use his room if he was not there in the city. But now I can't. He has come here for a week. "

  9. #9
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hypothetical + permission

    Quote Originally Posted by GentleBoy View Post
    So, Are you saying the following sentence is correct ?

    "I could use his room if he was not there in the city. But now I can't. He has come here for a week. "
    It's very unclear. Where is "there"? Where is "here"? Is the city "here" or "there"?

    This is how I interpret what you said:
    I can use his room when he's out of town. I could have used it this week but he's around so I can't.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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