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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    who couldn't benefit from that?

    In a question, I can see the following, but it'd better be interpreted as "Everyone could benefit from that." as it's an opinion in a rhetorical question. "Couldn't" seems to mean a low probability. So "who can't benefit from that?" can be converted to "Everyone can benefit from that". What do you think?

    Q.who couldn't benefit from that? => Everyone can benefit from that.
    ex)...For one thing, volunteer work raises one's confidence. When you help someone else, it makes you feel better about yourself. And who couldn't benefit from that? Students will realize that they have the power to make people's lives better...

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: who couldn't benefit from that?

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    In a question, I can see the following, but it'd better be interpreted as "Everyone could benefit from that." as it's an opinion in a rhetorical question. "Couldn't" seems to mean a low probability. So "who can't benefit from that?" can be converted to "Everyone can benefit from that". What do you think?

    Q. Who couldn't benefit from that? => Everyone could benefit from that.
    ex)...For one thing, volunteer work raises one's confidence. When you help someone else, it makes you feel better about yourself. And who couldn't benefit from that? Students will realize that they have the power to make people's lives better...
    There's no justification for changing the modal verb.

  3. keannu's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: who couldn't benefit from that?

    Okay, It should be "could" for "couldn't". But what do you mean by "justification"? I know the word's meaning, but I can't apply it here.
    And if you said "Who can't benefit?" Is the counterpart "Everyone can benefit from that"?
    I think "couldn't" has lower probability than "can't" as you said before.
    Last edited by keannu; 25-Jul-2012 at 14:40.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: who couldn't benefit from that?

    These rehetorical type questions are very common and whilst they may mean what you said, something is somehow lost in the translation to "Everyone could ..."

    As an example: My friend makes healthy cakes using no sugar or fat and with vegetables as the main ingredients. They're so healthy you could eat one every day and, let's face it, who wouldn't want to do that?!"

    It's almost as if the speaker is challenging the listener to find even one person who would not want to partake. It's just more meaningful somehow to word it the way shown.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. keannu's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: who couldn't benefit from that?

    Okay, I realized my real question - Sometimes I don't even know what to ask.
    My real question is in "Who couldn't benefit from that? => Everyone could benefit from that." , "could" and "couldn't" are euphemism, or less blunt way. The writer does emphasize that everyone can benefit, but s/he is just stepping back not to challenge the readers. The nuance is not lower possibility(or probability as you said), right?

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: who couldn't benefit from that?

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Okay, I realized my real question - Sometimes I don't even know what to ask.
    My real question is in "Who couldn't benefit from that? => Everyone could benefit from that." , "could" and "couldn't" are euphemism, or less blunt way. The writer does emphasize that everyone can benefit, but s/he is just stepping back not to challenge the readers. The nuance is not lower possibility(or probability as you said), right?
    Yes, the suggestion of the question "Who couldn't benefit from that?" is that actually "Everyone could benefit from that". But the fact remains that there is something very slightly different about the two. Maybe asking a question instead of making a statement means that the writer wants the reader to actually think about it and come to their own conclusion instead of just bluntly being told "Everyone could ...", the reader feels included.

    But as I said, it's just one of those things that native speakers employ frequently and I really can't give you a reason for it.

    The Sun newspaper has announced that it will continue with its "Page 3 girl" tradition despite petitions from women's groups calling for it to be banned. A spokesman for the newspaper said "We have no intention of ditching it. I mean, come on, who doesn't like to see a pretty girl with her t*ts out first thing in the morning?!"

    A mobile phone app has been developed which should help people keep track of their eating and drinking in three easy steps. It's perfect for everyone because, these days, who doesn't have a mobile phone?

    I don't think the nuance of the rhetorical question comes across in writing. When I read it aloud in my head, the speaker (when they reach the question part) is shrugging their shoulders and tilting their head to one side, holding their hands up at their sides, palms upwards, while asking that question. If I read "It's perfect for everyone because, these days, everyone has a mobile phone", I don't add the same gestures of feeling. I'm sure I'm not explaining it very well but I can assure you that despite having the same meaning, the feeling we (I) get from the two versions is very different.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: who couldn't benefit from that?

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Okay, It should be "could" for "couldn't". But what do you mean by "justification"?
    I could have said, "There's no reason to ..." But I think I'm justified in using a different word at times for a change.
    Justification | Define Justification at Dictionary.com

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