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    • Join Date: Jun 2007
    • Posts: 2
    #1

    Smile grammar problem

    Could you please help me? I am not sure what the difference is ( if there is|) between 'could' and might in the following sentences:
    Pete says he might /could come to the party but he isn't sure
    I don't think I could/ might have done what Benjamin Franklin did - he was a very clever man


    Thanks in advance for your help


    • Join Date: Aug 2009
    • Posts: 1,131
    #2

    Re: grammar problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda_Knot View Post
    Could you please help me? I am not sure what the difference is ( if there is|) between 'could' and might in the following sentences:
    Pete says he might /could come to the party but he isn't sure
    I don't think I could/ might have done what Benjamin Franklin did - he was a very clever man


    Thanks in advance for your help
    In the case of these two sentences, "might" is used to refer to "maybe" and "could" is used to refer to "ability to do it."

    I MIGHT go to the party = MAYBE I will go
    I COULD go if I had a babysitter for the kids = I would HAVE THE ABILITY TO GO if I had childcare.

    In your examples:

    Pete says he might /could come to the party but he isn't sure.

    1) Pete says he might come to the party, but he isn't sure.
    - This means MAYBE he will come to the party (and maybe not.)

    2) Pete says he could come to the party, but he isn't sure.
    - This is used in casual speech to show MAYBE, but I think it is not the answer wanted here.
    - This sentence really doesn't make much sense. It would make sense if it said
    - "Pete says he could come to the party if he had a ride."
    (He would be able to come if he had a ride.)


    I don't think I could/ might have done what Benjamin Franklin did - he was a very clever man

    1) I don't think I could have done what Franklin did.
    - This means that I don't think I have the ability to do what he did.

    2) I don't think I might have done what Franklin did.
    - This doesn't really make any sense
    - The sentence would make sense if it had said
    - "I might have been able to do all that Franklin could do if I had had as much education as he had."
    (Maybe I would have been able to do all that he could do.)

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