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    • Join Date: Jan 2006
    • Posts: 54

    Question can we use either 'could' or 'would'?

    Could you please give me your opinion on the following.

    Below is a question and answer my co-worker has written.

    Q: What would Auouda's life be like if Mr.Fogg had won his bet?
    A: If Mr. Fogg had won his bet, Aouda's life would be free and happy.

    My co-worker would like to put the following as an alternative answer:

    If Mr Fogg had won his bet, Aouda's life could be free and happy.

    To me could is not a possible choice for this answer, but this is just my gutt feeling and I am having trouble thinking of a reason!

    This is what I have come up with so far.....

    would - is more defn, the answer is more sure
    could - means that is might have been but not defn

    in the story, Mr Fogg says 'would be free...' indicating he is sure that the situation would have happened.

    Apparently the students have learnt that in some instances would/could can be used to mean the same thing.

    I have found the following in a grammar book, but it makes me think that 'could' can only apply here if 'have' is added to the sentence.

    From a grammar book:
    could can be used in unreal situations to mean 'would be able to':
    eg. If I had another $500, I could buy a car.
    If he had run a bit faster,he could have won.

    Does anyone have any comments or ideas?


  1. curmudgeon's Avatar
    Key Member
    Retired English Teacher
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    • Join Date: Mar 2006
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    Re: can we use either 'could' or 'would'?

    I think you need to put in 'have been' after could or would, then they both make sense


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