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    #1

    I did not know then that men can/could be both very brave and very false.

    Hello,

    - He had a dreadful wound. His flesh was torn from his hip to his knee.He was in great pain . . .yet he never cried out. Not the smallest groan.I admired his courage.I looked after him. I did not know then that men can be both very brave and very false.

    These lines are from the movie ''The French Lieutenant's Woman.'' I cannot understand why 'can' is used in that sentence after 'did not know.' Why not could?

    Thanks.

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    #2

    Re: I did not know then that men can/could be both very brave and very false.

    There's little (if any) difference between them in this context.

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    #3

    Re: I did not know then that men can/could be both very brave and very false.

    I cannot see it. Will you enlighten me?

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: I did not know then that men can/could be both very brave and very false.

    It would normally be 'could'. The writer has chosen 'can'. It's not wrong. You could certainly have used 'could' if you had written it.

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