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    #1

    can-may-might

    hello,
    Normally,

    .I can drive Susan's car when she is out of town. (present permission)

    .I was allowed to drive Susan's car while she was out of town last week. (past permission)

    But, I want to learn how to construct a sentence with 'reported speech'.
    For example,

    John :I can drive Susan's car when she is out of town.

    Jessica asks like that. What did he say?

    a) Tony :John said that he could drive Susan's car when she was out of town. (past permission)

    or

    b) Tony :John said that he was allowed to drive Susan's car when she was out of town. (past permission)

    My question is when we construct a sentence or 'reported speech', what must we put instead of 'can-past permission' ? Which one is correct a or b?

    Because normally the past permission of 'can' is 'be allowed to'. I am mixed up.Can you help me please?

    Thank you

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: can-may-might

    The past of "can" is frequently "could".

    I can go into the building whenever I want.
    Last year, I could go into the building whenever I wanted, but now I can't.
    He told me I could go in whenever I wanted.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: can-may-might

    Oh, we are coming on in leaps and bounds. My compliments on your rapid progress.
    Quote Originally Posted by lindadanca View Post
    a) Tony :John said that he could drive Susan's car when she was out of town. (past permission)

    b) Tony :John said that he was allowed to drive Susan's car when she was out of town. (past permission)

    My question is when we construct a sentence or 'reported speech', what must we put instead of 'can-past permission' ? Which one is correct a or b?
    Both are fine.

    To go into more detail about all the circumstances in which 'could' is, or is not. an acceptable past form of 'can' would take far more time and space than we have in this forum.

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    #4

    Re: can-may-might

    Okay but what about 'opportunity' and 'possibility'? A little short time ago I took a look in an English book.It is wirtten like that :

    .John could(can) be the one who stole the money.(present possibility can-could)

    .John could have been the one who stole the money. (past possibility of could)

    .John can't have been the one who stole the money (past possibility of can)

    And It is written that we can't use 'could' instead of 'can' as 'past possibility.

    I want to learn the reason of that and I want to learn that how we must construct a sentence with 'reported speech'.

    A :John could(can) be the one who stole the money.

    B:Tony said that John could be the one who stole the money.

    or

    Tony said that John could have been the one who stole the money.

    Thanks

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    #5

    Re: can-may-might

    Quote Originally Posted by lindadanca View Post
    Okay but what about 'opportunity' and 'possibility'? A little short time ago I took a look in an English book.It is wirtten like that :
    .John could(can) be the one who stole the money.(present possibility can-could)
    .John could have been the one who stole the money. (past possibility)
    John can't have been the one who stole the money (past possibility)
    And It is written that we can't use 'could' instead of 'can' as 'past possibility.
    I want to learn the reason of that and I want to learn that how we must construct a sentence with 'reported speech'.
    A :John could(can) be the one who stole the money
    B:Tony said that John could be the one who stole the money
    or
    Tony said that John could have been the one who stole the money.
    To go into more detail about all the circumstances in which 'could' is, or is not. an acceptable past form of 'can' would take far more time and space than we have in this forum.

    I seem to remember reading that somehwere recently. Oh, no - my mistake - I wrote it. To you, only 30 minutes ago, in this thread. The message is still the same.

    If you take the time and trouble to isolate parts of your problem and present them here one at a time, you may well get some responses. You have little chance of getting the whole grammar of can/could explained in one thread here, or in any other forum,

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    #6

    Re: can-may-might

    Okay thanks. But I mean if want to construct such a sentence, what will I do? Which one must I say? :(

    A :John could(can) be the one who stole the money
    B:Tony said that John could be the one who stole the money
    or
    Tony said that John could have been the one who stole the money.

    I have been trying to understand this situation, but i couldn't find that in the book.

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    #7

    Re: can-may-might

    I think we put the same modal verb to the other side while constructing a reported speech sentence. I mean can-could, may-might...etc. Is that right?

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    #8

    Re: can-may-might

    Quote Originally Posted by lindadanca View Post
    Okay but what about 'opportunity' and 'possibility'? A little short time ago I took a look in an English book.It is wirtten like that :

    .John could(can) be the one who stole the money.(present possibility can-could)

    .John could have been the one who stole the money. (past possibility of could)

    .John can't have been the one who stole the money (past possibility of can)

    And It is written that we can't use 'could' instead of 'can' as 'past possibility.

    I want to learn the reason of that and I want to learn that how we must construct a sentence with 'reported speech'.

    A :John could(can) be the one who stole the money.

    B:Tony said that John could be the one who stole the money.

    or

    Tony said that John could have been the one who stole the money.

    Thanks
    Ref. fivejedjon's response and try www.unenlightenedenglish.com and/or www.myenglishgrammar.com/english/lesson-14

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    #9

    Re: can-may-might

    Quote Originally Posted by lindadanca View Post
    Okay thanks. But I mean if want to construct such a sentence, what will I do? Which one must I say? :(

    A :John could(can) be the one who stole the money
    B:Tony said that John could be the one who stole the money
    or
    Tony said that John could have been the one who stole the money.


    Either one is possible but given sentence A then your first choice fits better. Had sentence A read "John could have been the one who stole the money" then your second choice would fit better.

    I have been trying to understand this situation, but i couldn't find that in the book.
    There are many things you won't find in a book but that doesn't mean that you'll find a simple, short answer here either. English is full of variables - that's what makes it so difficult to master.

    Both of your sentences are grammatically correct and as I have said above, in the specific example you gave (Sentence A), the first of your two suggestions would fit better. That does not mean, however, that the first one would always fit every similar scenario.

    Fivejedjon's advice is still the best answer on this thread.

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    #10

    Re: can-may-might

    Thank you, last question for this topic.

    He might be there last week. (past possibility)

    or

    He might have been there last week. (past possibility)

    Which is correct? I mean, what will happen if we don't want to use 'have v3 after modal verbs for past possibility or opportunity (might and could)..etc

    Thanks again :)

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