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    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 7
    #1

    can/could & will/would

    Hello,

    I have a problem using can/could & will/would.

    Sometimes I hear people say ...

    Can you do it for me?
    Could you do it for me?
    Will you do it for me?
    Would you do it for me?

    If I did this for you, will or would you do that for me?
    If I do this for you, will or would you do that for me?

    Please help me understand.

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    • Join Date: Nov 2002
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    #2

    Re: can/could & will/would

    Can you do it for me?
    Could you do it for me?
    Will you do it for me?
    Would you do it for me?
    These are all correct. It depends who you are talking to. Starting at the top, it's more familiar and at the bottom it's more formal and polite. If you met the president, you'd use the bottom one, but the first for a friend.


    1 If I did this for you, would you do that for me?
    2 If I do this for you, will you do that for me?

    In 1, you are being cautious- you are not promising to do it, or even saying that there's much chance that you will do it, which is why we use the past and would. You want to check the other person's feelings about this without committing yourself. In 2, the present and will, suggests that you are prepared to do it and hope that the other person will cooperate with you.
    Last edited by Tdol; 06-Feb-2006 at 04:52.


    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 7
    #3

    Re: can/could & will/would

    Am I able to use could and would interchangeable? Is there a difference in meaning if I say this ..

    Could you go shopping with me?
    Would you go shopping with me?

    Or no matter what, I can use can, will, could, and would interchangeably, since they are just a matter of politeness.

    Can is less polite than could, right?
    Will is less polite then would, right?


    If I was to use past tense, I should use would and could, right?
    If I was to use present tense, I should use will and can, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Can you do it for me?
    Could you do it for me?
    Will you do it for me?
    Would you do it for me?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,864
    #4

    Re: can/could & will/would

    If I was to use past tense, I should use would and could, right?
    If I was to use present tense, I should use will and can, right?
    Yes

    Could you go shopping with me?
    Would you go shopping with me?
    They are both polite, but the form with 'would' is the most polite/formal. If, for example, you were inviting someone and wanted to show as much respect as possible, then use 'would'.

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