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      • Native Language:
      • Bengali; Bangla
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    #1

    Difference between "could be <ppt> and "could have been <ppt>"

    Could you please tell me the difference between "could be <ppt> and "could have been <ppt>"? I got confused when I heard the news of an accident. It said "The accident could be avoided" but I suddenly thought why they hadn't used the following; "The accident could have been avoided". Can it be a reason that the accident had really happened whereas "could have been" is to be used to refer to a hypothetical situation - but both "could be" and "could have been" refer to a future-situation.

    Thank you.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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      • England
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      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
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    #2

    Re: Difference between "could be <ppt> and "could have been <ppt>"

    If we are talking about an accident that did actually happen in the past, then 'could be avoided' is wrong. It must be 'could have been avoided'.

    If we are talking about accidents in general, or in the future, then 'could have been' is wrong; 'could be' is appropriate.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Bengali; Bangla
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Aug 2012
    • Posts: 26
    #3

    Re: Difference between "could be <ppt> and "could have been <ppt>"

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    If we are talking about an accident that did actually happen in the past, then 'could be avoided' is wrong. It must be 'could have been avoided'.

    If we are talking about accidents in general, or in the future, then 'could have been' is wrong; 'could be' is appropriate.
    Thank you very much for your help. I understand. Your reply is very logical and I thought what you've mentioned so your reply also help me boost up my confidence.
    Regards

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