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Thread: can, could

  1. #11
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: can, could

    Quote Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
    Still, 'can' is better.
    Good evening, C, if indeed it's evening and actually I've calculated the time difference correctly and it's 8:30PM there.

    Since Lenka's

    "Can I use ..." means "Is it possible to use ...?", can I take your reponse to mean that you're answering Lenka's question,

    Can I use <could> in the following sentence or should I replace it with <can>?

    in the affirmative?

  2. #12
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    Red face Re: can, could

    I apologize.
    I admit I was wrong, obviously because in a similar grammatical pattern in Russian we use the past. Michael Swan says so that is followed by can, will or may.

  3. #13
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    Volcano1985 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: can, could

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    I have a very simple question... Can I use "could" in the following sentence or should I replace it with "can"?

    Please arrive early so that we can start the meeting on time.
    You can use "could" in this sentence...

  4. #14
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: can, could

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble View Post
    I apologize.
    I admit I was wrong, obviously because in a similar grammatical pattern in Russian we use the past. Michael Swan says so that is followed by can, will or may.
    Humble, if you were referring to the following, specifically the part I've put in red;

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble View Post
    Yes, Lenka, you can.
    Can and could are often interchangeable; to name only one case:
    They say it was Hans who stole the money, but I don't believe it.
    Hans can't have stolen the money.
    = Hans couldn't have stolen the money.

    Regards
    then you weren't wrong at all. The part in red does equal in meaning that "Hans couldn't have stolen the money". The only difference between using <can't have +PP> and <couldn't have "PP> is that <can't have> is more pointed, more emphatic, it allows that there is much less doubt; it's more directed; it can be more 'in your face', more suggestive that the speaker is a liar or has made a egregious error. In short it isn't nearly as tentative as <couldn't have ...>

  5. #15
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: can, could

    Quote Originally Posted by Volcano1985 View Post
    You can use "could" in this sentence...
    Undoubtedly you could/can, Volcano.

  6. #16
    curmudgeon's Avatar
    curmudgeon is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: can, could

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Good evening, C, if indeed it's evening and actually I've calculated the time difference correctly and it's 8:30PM there.

    Since Lenka's

    "Can I use ..." means "Is it possible to use ...?", can I take your reponse to mean that you're answering Lenka's question,

    Can I use <could> in the following sentence or should I replace it with <can>?

    in the affirmative?
    I've lost the plot It's ten before midnight now and I've just been out for a few beverages as it's my birthday in 20 minutes. Could/can who knows? I think go with what feels right and can feels right to me.

  7. #17
    Philly is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: can, could

    Quote Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
    Still, 'can' is better.?
    Much better.
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
    Maybe... 'wouldn't it be nice if we could start the meeting on time for once?
    I had the same sort of thought. My initial thought was that 'could' simply doesn't work well with the imperative in (and imperative nature of) Lenka's sentence.
    .
    By the way, Curmudgeon, we seem to have the same birthday -- but I've still got 5 hours to go before mine gets here.
    Have a good one!
    .

  8. #18
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: can, could

    Happy Birthday, Curmudgeon.

  9. #19
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: can, could

    Dear Curmudgeon and Philly,

    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday!




    Have a great day!!
    Red5
    Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com

  10. #20
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: can, could

    Yes, you too, Philly, a very Happy Birthday!!!

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