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  1. Junior Member
    Interested in Language
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      • Native Language:
      • Ukrainian
      • Home Country:
      • Ukraine
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine

    • Join Date: Nov 2015
    • Posts: 81

    3rd Conditional. could.

    Hello, dear forum users!

    1. If he had asked me, I might've helped him.
    2. If he had asked me, I might not have helped him.

    3. If he had asked me, I could've helped him = I would've had a possibility to help, so maybe I would have done it.
    4. If he had asked me, I couldn't have helped him = ...

    It's all clear with the usage of 'might' in 3rd Conditional, but what about 'could'?
    Negative sentence N4 has confused me completely.
    Please, explain what the meaning of N4 is.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
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      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 59,309

    Re: 3rd Conditional. could.

    4 suggests that the person would not have been able to help if asked to me.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong

    • Join Date: Nov 2013
    • Posts: 8,107

    Re: 3rd Conditional. could.

    I would add 'even' before 'if' in 4.
    I am not a teacher.

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