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      • Native Language:
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    • Join Date: Oct 2010
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    #1

    could/be able to

    Hello,

    A sentence from my book reads

    Nobody thought he ____ do that. He did it and very successfully.

    I think either 'could' or 'would be able to" works here. Am I right?

    Thank you.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Jul 2009
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    #2

    Re: could/be able to

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Hello,

    A sentence from my book reads

    Nobody thought he ____ do that. He did it and very successfully.

    I think either 'could' or 'would be able to" works here. Am I right?

    Thank you.
    If you had simply been given the first sentence, I would have agreed that both "could" and "would" were possible. However, the addition of "He did it, and very successfully" makes it more likely that the outcome (he did it and he did it very successfully) is perhaps a surprise and therefore it is likely that before it happened, people thought he was not capable of doing it, therefore "could" would be the appropriate choice.

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