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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    couldn't have attended

    Can this be replaced with "wouldn't have been able to attend"? I think the original is more common.

    18.5)Sally told me about the conference, so I was able to attend it.
    => If Sally hadn't told me about the conference, I couldn't have attended it.

  2. mayita1usa's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: couldn't have attended

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Can this be replaced with "wouldn't have been able to attend"? I think the original is more common.

    18.5)Sally told me about the conference, so I was able to attend it.
    => If Sally hadn't told me about the conference, I couldn't have attended it.
    Your replacement is better! The second one (=>"couldn't have attended") means that you DID attend, but that if Sally had told you about it (which she didn't), you would not have been able to attend (meaning that her telling you would have created a condition where you could not attend). Subtle, but different!

  3. probus's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: couldn't have attended

    Quote Originally Posted by mayita1usa View Post
    Your replacement is better! The second one (=>"couldn't have attended") means that you DID attend, but that if Sally had told you about it (which she didn't), you would not have been able to attend (meaning that her telling you would have created a condition where you could not attend). Subtle, but different!

    If Sally hadn't told you ...

    But she did, and therefore you were able to attend.
    Last edited by probus; 24-Aug-2013 at 04:46.

  4. keannu's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: couldn't have attended

    You seem to have misunderstood the meaning. The two mean the same thing, but there's only expression difference, I guess. I'd like to know which is preferred.

  5. probus's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: couldn't have attended

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    You seem to have misunderstood the meaning. The two mean the same thing, but there's only expression difference, I guess. I'd like to know which is preferred.
    I assume you are speaking to me, although this is not a personal conversation.

    I did not misunderstand. I was disagreeing with your other respondent who stated that Sally did not NOT tell you.

  6. keannu's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: couldn't have attended

    It was the answer to mayita, and this site's reply system is not clear as it doesn't show who I responded to. I'm still wondering which of the two is more common.

  7. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: couldn't have attended

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Can this be replaced with "wouldn't have been able to attend"? I think the original is more common.

    18.5)Sally told me about the conference, so I was able to attend it.
    => If Sally hadn't told me about the conference, I couldn't have attended it.
    Yes, you can replace the underlined phrase with your example, which is probably better.

  8. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: couldn't have attended

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    It was the answer to mayita, and this site's reply system is not clear as it doesn't show who I responded to. I'm still wondering which of the two is more common.
    There's nothing wrong with the system. If you quote someone, you're obviously replying to that quote.
    You can also say, " probus, ....." or @probus (which I don't like, but I guess it works, especially in a reply that's primarily to someone else).

  9. mayita1usa's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: couldn't have attended

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    You seem to have misunderstood the meaning. The two mean the same thing, but there's only expression difference, I guess. I'd like to know which is preferred.
    You're right - it was late and I skipped a negative! But I still prefer the version with "wouldn't", although I can't explain why... [On a completely different topic, does anyone know why I can't start new paragraphs or use formatting anymore? If you do, please PM me, especially if you know how to fix it! Thanks so much. ~M]

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