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    #1

    can vs. could

    Both have the same meaning? Or is there any difference?

    (A) The harbor can be blocked.
    (B) The harbor could be blocked.

    Thanks.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: can vs. could

    Quote Originally Posted by doraemonz View Post
    Both have the same meaning? Or is there any difference?

    (A) The harbor can be blocked.
    (B) The harbor could be blocked.

    Thanks.
    The first is more sure than the second.

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    #3

    Re: can vs. could

    Quote Originally Posted by doraemonz View Post
    Both have the same meaning? Or is there any difference?

    (A) The harbor can be blocked.
    (B) The harbor could be blocked.

    Thanks.

    Among other things, the first may mean "the harbor is sometimes blocked", while the second may mean "the harbor might be blocked (now)". Thus, depending on context, they could be extremely different.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: can vs. could

    'Could' can also be used simply as the past tense of 'can', especially in reported speech.

    If we don't carry out regular dredging operations, the harbour can be blocked.
    The harbour master told is that if they didn't carry out regular dredging operations, the harbour could be blocked.

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