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    #1

    could have/might have

    Are 1 and 2 both correct and do they mean the same?

    1-Yesterday, when leaving for work, I took my raincoat because it could have rained.
    2-Yesterday, when leaving for work, I took my raincoat because it might have rained.
    Meaning: Yesterday, when leaving for work, I took my raincoat because I thought it might rain.


    Are 3 and 4 both correct and do they mean the same?

    3-He is not home. He could have gone shopping.
    4-He is not home. He might have gone shopping.
    Meaning: He is not home. It is possible that he has gone shopping.

    Gratefully,
    Navi.

  1. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: could have/might have

    He is not home. He could have gone shopping. This implies that he did NOT go shopping even though he had a chance to.
    He is not home. He might have gone shopping. This implies that there is a possibility that he went shopping.

    Yesterday, when leaving for work, I took my raincoat because it could have rained rain. Personally, I see no reason to use that type of construction in this sentence. We don't know if it rained that day - the guy took his raincoat with him to be on the safe side.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: could have/might have

    He is not home. He could have gone shopping. This implies that he did NOT go shopping even though he had a chance to.


    That makes no sense. If he didn't go shopping, it doesn't explain his absence.

    In that use, "could" indicates a possibility.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 25-Mar-2014 at 01:07.

  3. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: could have/might have

    That's interesting. I always thought that "could have" implies that something could've been done but wasn't, whereas "might have" implies that there is a possibility something was done. Truly, live and learn!

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: could have/might have

    "Could have" can have that meaning.

    "He is not home. He has gone to the cinema. He could have gone shopping but he decided to see a film instead."

    There it denotes that he did not go shopping even though the possibility existed.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: could have/might have

    It all depends on context.

  6. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: could have/might have

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    "Could have" can have that meaning.

    "He is not home. He has gone to the cinema. He could have gone shopping but he decided to see a film instead."

    There it denotes that he did not go shopping even though the possibility existed.
    That's the way I see it too. There is a possibility that the two verbs - could and might - are used interchangeably in certain places.

  7. probus's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: could have/might have

    1-Yesterday, when leaving for work, I took my raincoat because it could have rained.
    2-Yesterday, when leaving for work, I took my raincoat because it might have rained.
    3-He is not home. He could have gone shopping.
    4-He is not home. He might have gone shopping.

    In my opinion 1 and 3 are frequently heard in AmE although they are not very logical. Speakers of AmE would also understand 2 and 4, and I think speakers of BrE would prefer 2 and 4 to 1 and 3.

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