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    #1

    Question use of 'could'

    According to my knowledge 'could' is normally used for past of can or for a polite request, it's use is wide in UK, sometimes it's looking confused with can, can someone explain with reference to grammar. thanks.

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    #2

    Exclamation Re: use of 'could'

    Quote Originally Posted by hznaeem View Post
    According to my knowledge 'could' is normally used for past of can or for a polite request, it's use is wide in UK, sometimes it's looking confused with can, can someone explain with reference to grammar. thanks.
    Normally they are used to express ability and possibility or similar such ideas. Have a look at the following sentences.
    Extreme rain could cause the river to flood the city. (possibility)
    Hamid; can you hold your breath for more than a minute? (ability)
    Now let us consider some different type of use. Take the following sentences.
    How could I improve my English? is more a request for advice,
    How can I improve my English? is more a factual question about available options.

    Can and could, like the other modal verbs, are used for multifarious expressions having quite a range of meanings and ideas. If you ask with specific examples to explain the difference, it can certainly help, but learning all the ins and outs of these verbs is a long process which requires plenty of experience, observation and practice.

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    #3

    Question Re: use of 'could'

    And the use of 'could' in a past tense to replace 'can' is fixed, even whether it was a possibility or ability, because we can't use 'can' in the past tense. Is it?
    Thanks for you time and corrections.

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    #4

    Exclamation Re: use of 'could'

    Quote Originally Posted by hznaeem View Post
    And the use of 'could' in a past tense to replace 'can' is fixed, even whether it was a possibility or ability, because we can't use 'can' in the past tense. Is it?
    Thanks for you time and corrections.
    Hello hznaeem,

    Please note that modals are tenseless. Here is a bit of clarifications.
    In the English language, a modal verb is an auxiliary verb that can be used to change the grammatical mood of a sentence. Examples of mood;
    Ability: I can swim. Availability; He will be able to come. Permission: You may go. Advisability: You should see a doctor. Necessity; Everybody must obey law.

    Modals are always followed by the base form of a verb or auxiliary verb.
    I may go. He will come. You can take this book. I should have obeyed your advice.

    All the modals can be used in past, present and future situations. So effectively, modals have no tense in modern English. Of course, in a number of ways, "would" functions as the past of "will",
    Could you come now? (present)
    No, I can come tomorrow. (future)
    Someone was giving a talk yester day. That could have been Tom. (past)
    He would go to meet his parents every Sunday when he was here. (past)
    Last edited by sarat_106; 22-Oct-2009 at 04:28.

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