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    #1

    Tense

    Kindly Someone clear me the tense of the following sentences.
    1: I could do that if you let me.
    2: He could find me if he wanted to.
    (clear me the tense i.e is it present tense? and clear me about "could" here)

    Regards.

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    #2

    Re: Tense

    Could is the past tense, but tense and time are not always the same, so it is present time.

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    #3

    Re: Tense

    Sir
    Kindly clear more. If it is present tense then why "could" is being used. Please clear the situation where such a sentence is used.
    Best regards.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdul basit jadoon View Post
    Kindly Someone clear me the tense of the following sentences.
    1: I could do that if you let me.
    2: He could find me if he wanted to.
    (clear me the tense i.e is it present tense? and clear me about "could" here)

    Regards.
    I'd call this the present tense using the conditional of "can", which is "could".
    Indicative: I can do this. Conditional: I could do this if you let me.
    Indicative: He can find me. Conditional: 2: He could find me if he wanted to.

    Here is a sentence with "could" being the past tense of "can":
    When I was younger I could swim well. (past tense)
    Now, I can swim even better. (present tense)

    So "could" is both the past tense form of "can" and the present conditional of "can".

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Tense

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdul basit jadoon View Post
    Kindly Someone clear me the tense of the following sentences.
    1: I could do that if you let me.
    2: He could find me if he wanted to.
    (clear me the tense i.e is it present tense? and clear me about "could" here)

    Regards.
    I'd call this the present tense using the conditional of "can", which is "could".
    Indicative: I can do this. Conditional: I could do this if you let me.
    Indicative: He can find me. Conditional: 2: He could find me if he wanted to.

    Here is a sentence with "could" being the past tense of "can":
    When I was younger I could swim well. (past tense)
    Now, I can swim even better. (present tense)

    So "could" is both the past tense form of "can" and the present conditional of "can".
    You'll find that this also happens with "will/would". "Would" is both the past tense form of "will" and the present conditional of "will".

    (Tdol might be strictly correct, but this is how I understand it)

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    #6

    Re: Tense

    Hey Abdul! How's things?

    1: I could do that if you let me. This is a 2nd Conditional type of sentence, because it uses 'could'.
    2: He could find me if he wanted to. This one is the same.

    Both of these are conditional sentences. A conditional sentence is built like this:

    If [ here you put a condition to be fulfilled] then [here you put what will or can happen, if the condition is fulfilled or has the value 'true']
    Simplified, it looks like this:

    If [condition = true] then [result]. You can swap [condition] and [result] around. It doesn't affect the logic, whether [result] or [condition] comes first. Your sentences have the form:

    [result] if [condition]

    1: [I could do that] if [you let me.]
    2: [He could find me] if [he wanted to.]

    Remember your other post about 'might'? Well, the same goes for could here: it is the so-called Past Subjunctive of the verb 'can'. The Present Subjunctive is 'can'. English does not mark these forms in any special way, so you can only identify them from the context of the discourse. They are written the same as the Present and Past Tense forms of the verb 'can'.

    As Raymott said:

    An indicative sentence: I can do this. = I am able to do this.
    A second conditional sentence: I could do this if you let me.
    Indicative: He can find me.
    (second) Conditional: He could find me if he wanted to.

    [result] if [condition]

    a) [I can do this] if [you let me.] Present Subjunctive 'can' 'let'
    b) [I could do this] if [you let me.] Past Subjunctive 'could' 'let'

    I can do this implies 'I haven't done this yet'. 'if you let me' implies 'you haven't let me yet'. So, you haven't let me yet and I haven't done anything yet. Neither [condition] nor [result] have happened. They are not real, they are irreal, and we therefore use the subjunctive. Also, 'can' here cannot be read as Present Tense 'can' = 'be able to do something', as the whole sentence tells us that if [condition = false] then I am unable.
    c) He can find me if he wants to. Present Subjunctive 'can' 'wants'
    d) He could find me if he wanted to. Past Subjunctive 'could' 'wanted'

    Tense is a very complicated subject. English really only has two tenses. Your two sentences have no tense, as they describe events which have not happened. They are conjecture. If you really want to name them, I'd call them Past Subjunctive, or Second Conditional sentences.

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