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Thread: Could/Might

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    #11

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    Why is it the best answer?
    Because it fits the context the best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    Please don't think that I argue with you or with any of the native speakers here. I said many times that I find the forum very helpful. I just don't undertsand one thing. In grammar books I read the rules but when I ask about them or complete tests I find out the actual use of the modal verbs is not based on the rules I read.
    Nobody thinks you're arguing, Rachel.

    I can sympathise with what you're saying. Grammar books don't tend to explain very well how to use modal verbs accurately. The screenshot from Longman is a good example of this. It seems to be suggesting that those verbs are identical.

    For example, according to Swan ''May, might and could are used to talk about the present or future. I may go to London (perhaps a 50% chance. Joe might come with me. (Perhaps a 30 % chance).''
    That doesn't tell you about the differences between those verbs.

    Swan does not mention anything about percentages, because that is a completely wrong way to understand things.

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    #12

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    The screenshot in post 6 is from Longman but this screen with percentage figures is from Swan.Attachment 3511 It says just like Longman that ''Could'' is possible.
    Okay, Piscean and I were wrong when we said Swan doesn't use percentages. I must say that that depresses me somewhat. That is a disastrously poor way of attempting to teach how modal verbs express possibility.

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    #13

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Okay, Piscean and I were wrong when we said Swan doesn't use percentages. I must say that that depresses me somewhat. That is a disastrously poor way of attempting to teach how modal verbs express possibility.
    Thank you so much jutfrank. What book should I use? I am lost. You are right it suggests ''could/may/might'' are identical that's why I thought they can be used interchangeably in my sentence. What do I need to know about ''could''? I don't quite understand why it is wrong.

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    #14

    Re: Could/Might

    Put simply, it could rain at any time (unless you live somewhere where it never rains) but today, specifically, it actually might rain. It's possible that the comment is based on a weather forecast or by looking at the sky! I don't subscribe to the idea of percentages being used with such modals, but in this scenario, "might" indicates a stronger possibility than "could".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #15

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Put simply, it could rain at any time (unless you live somewhere where it never rains) but today, specifically, it actually might rain. It's possible that the comment is based on a weather forecast or by looking at the sky! I don't subscribe to the idea of percentages being used with such modals, but in this scenario, "might" indicates a stronger possibility than "could".
    I found a similar example in Murphy's English Grammar with "Could". Just like Swan and Longman it seems to be suggesting that "could/might/may" are used interchangeably.Click image for larger version. 

Name:	could wrong.jpg 
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ID:	3512
    Last edited by Rachel Adams; 19-May-2020 at 12:03.

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    #16

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    I found a similar example in Murphy's English Grammar with "Could". Just like Swan and Longman it seems to be suggesting that "could/might/may" are used interchangeably.
    It doesn't say that. It says they're similar.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #17

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    It doesn't say that. It says they're similar.
    The example is the test and the book's example are similar too. It says ''The weather could change.'' The test's example says ''It could rain later.''

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    #18

    Re: Could/Might

    The problem with tests like that is that there is often no single correct answer. No one is saying that "It could rain later" is wrong. However, if you want to know what native speakers would actually say, you'll have to just take it from us that it's "It might rain later".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #19

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    The example is the test and the book's example are similar too. It says ''The weather could change.'' The test's example says ''It could rain later.''
    Both are true statements. When you're advising someone to take an umbrella, you generally express a little higher likelihood. "Could" means it's not objectively impossible; "might" means you think there's a reasonable chance it will happen.

    Rather than trying to find a rule to help you choose between these similar words, you should read as much as you can. Read books and stories with lots of dialog, set in recent times. You'll gradually build a mental inventory of uses of these modals. Eventually, you'll unconsciously consult this inventory when you need to choose one. The deeper the inventory, the better the odds that your choice will match that of a native speaker.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #20

    Re: Could/Might

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Put simply, it could rain at any time (unless you live somewhere where it never rains) but today, specifically, it actually might rain. It's possible that the comment is based on a weather forecast or by looking at the sky! I don't subscribe to the idea of percentages being used with such modals, but in this scenario, "might" indicates a stronger possibility than "could".
    If a native speaker used ''May'' instead would it indicate a stronger possibility than ''might''?

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