Student or Learner
"I thank God that he enabled me to save this amount of money but I'm sad I could not afford taking my wife and son with me."
Cops say mom admits to suffocating her two young children, then putting them in her car in a South Carolina river. Mom now facing murder charges! Cops say she told them she couldn't afford to feed the boys. Nancy Grace has the latest breaking news, 8 & 10 p.m. ET on HLN!
Source: Cops: 2 tots found in car in river: mom says she suffocated them – Nancy Grace - CNN.com Blogs
afford - definition of afford by Macmillan Dictionary
Afford is never followed by a verb in the -ing form. Use an infinitive:
✗ What about people who cannot afford going to these kind of centres?
✓ What about people who cannot afford to go to these kind of centres?
✗ The army can afford buying up to 10 tanks a year.
✓ The army can afford to buy up to 10 tanks a year.
How about couldn’t afford? Isn't couldn’t afford the past form of can't afford? I learned from the above texts that couldn’t afford can be followed either by gerund or infinitive.
1. Yes, you are 100% correct: "couldn't afford" is the past of "can't afford."
2. The text that you cited is, I feel, incorrect. The writer should have written:
I could not afford to take my wife and son.
I couldn't afford to take my wife and son.
3. Please remember that native speakers do not necessarily always write correctly in their first language.