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  1. #1
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    Default could not make it or could not have made it?

    Hi teachers,

    I am writing a thank-you letter and not quite sure about the sentence below. Your kind suggestion please.

    Should it be "I could not make it without your help." or "I could not have made it without your help."

    Thank you

  2. #2
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    Default Re: could not make it or could not have made it?

    I could not have made it without your help

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    Default Re: could not make it or could not have made it?

    Thanks, Curmudgeon, for your super quick reply!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: could not make it or could not have made it?

    Or:
    I could not have done it without your help.
    Or:
    Without your help it would have been impossible.
    ~R

  5. #5
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    Default Re: could not make it or could not have made it?

    Quote Originally Posted by yppah View Post
    Hi teachers,

    I am writing a thank-you letter and not quite sure about the sentence below. Your kind suggestion please.

    Should it be "I could not make it without your help." or "I could not have made it without your help."

    Thank you
    Sorry, but I have to disagree.

    They are both correct.

    The first would be used for the present tense moving to the future.

    If the person is helping you now or has promised to help you, then the first is correct. The past tense "could" is used because "making it" is conditional on the help. I could not make it without your help.

    If the person helped you in the past, then the conditional drops back one tense to the past conditional: could + have + past participle. I could not have made it without your help.
    Last edited by MikeNewYork; 05-Dec-2006 at 10:25.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: could not make it or could not have made it?

    I agree that "I could not make it without your help" is possible, but I would think it would more likely be part of an urgent request than as an expression of gratitude.

    ~R

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    Default Re: could not make it or could not have made it?

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    I agree that "I could not make it without your help" is possible, but I would think it would more likely be part of an urgent request than as an expression of gratitude.

    ~R
    More likely to be 'I cannot make it without your help, please give generously

  8. #8
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    Default Re: could not make it or could not have made it?

    Thank you, teachers.
    Back to my first post, I wanted to express my thanks to someone who had helped me before. Therefore, I think I should use the latter expression, as Curmudgeon suggested.
    But thank you, MikeNewYork, for further clarifying the different context in which these two sentences should be used.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: could not make it or could not have made it?

    Quote Originally Posted by yppah View Post
    Thank you, teachers.
    Back to my first post, I wanted to express my thanks to someone who had helped me before. Therefore, I think I should use the latter expression, as Curmudgeon suggested.
    But thank you, MikeNewYork, for further clarifying the different context in which these two sentences should be used.
    No, If someone has helped you then use ''I could not have made it without your help'

    If you want help from someone then use I cannot make it without your help

    I think I might have confused you

  10. #10
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    Default Re: could not make it or could not have made it?

    Quote Originally Posted by yppah View Post
    Thank you, teachers.
    Back to my first post, I wanted to express my thanks to someone who had helped me before. Therefore, I think I should use the latter expression, as Curmudgeon suggested.
    But thank you, MikeNewYork, for further clarifying the different context in which these two sentences should be used.
    Yes, if the help was in the past, use the past form "could not have made it".

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