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  1. #1
    keannu's Avatar
    keannu is offline Key Member
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    Default How could he know

    Does this "could" denote a hypothetical sense of the past? Is it the present or the past? If it is the past, it seems to mean "it couldn't have been be possible that he knew..." or it is the present, it's a strong denial like "how can he know...".

    110)If you see this when you're 10 years old, you can probably see it again when you're 86. What is it? It's Halley's Comet, and it passes by the Earth every 75 to 76 years....In 1682, he saw the comet through his telescope and guessed it would come back in 1758. At first, people laughted at him. How could he know when the comet would come back? But Halley was right. It appeared on Christmas Eve 1758, and again in 1835, 1910, and 1986. So don't forget...

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: How could he know

    It's a denial that he was able to predict the future.

  3. #3
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: How could he know

    From the past point of view or present? Is it putting him in the present? Although he is dead?

  4. #4
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: How could he know

    If it makes you happier, you could also ask 'How could he have known?'

    But it's not necessary.

  5. #5
    SoothingDave is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: How could he know

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    From the past point of view or present? Is it putting him in the present? Although he is dead?
    In the past. He made a prediction and before it was possible to verify that his prediction was true, people scoffed at the idea that he would be able to predict the future event.

  6. #6
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: How could he know

    I learned that "how could" for the present or "how could+S+have+p.p" for the past denote a surpise or disbelief.
    Does this "How could.." also mean a surprise or disbelief?

  7. #7
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: How could he know

    disbelief

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