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    #1

    How many eggs could you get? (be able to)

    Hello,

    - How many eggs were you able to get yesterday?

    I would like to ask if I can use 'could' instead of 'be able to' for only one situation.

    - How many eggs could you get yesterday?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by ademoglu; 15-Dec-2014 at 14:15. Reason: added 'yesterday'

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    #2

    Re: How many eggs could you get? (be able to)

    'Were able to' and 'could' in the context mean the same thing.

    not a teacher

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    #3

    Re: How many eggs could you get? (be able to)

    Teachers, what about your opinions?

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    #4

    Re: How many eggs could you get? (be able to)

    "were able to get" and "could get" can mean the same thing but not always. Could is a modal (helping) verb here modifying "get". It has several meanings and can be tricky to master. It is not limited to being past tense of "can".

    One use of "could" is to suggest possibility or uncertainty e.g. "It could rain tomorrow".

    However there is no uncertainty about the past (as in your example), so as tedmc says, in your context (of discussing the past) the meaning is the same - could here is past tense of can.

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