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  1. #1

    Could/can

    I know that could is the past tense of can, but why in this case we use like like bellow?
    Whoever did that must be a very brave person
    -> only a very brave person could have done that?

  2. Noego's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Could/can

    Ok, let's look at your sentence:

    "-Whoever did that must be a very brave person.
    -Only a very brave person could have done that?"

    In your example, whoever is speaking is not absolutely certain of what he's saying.

    He's pretty sure that a brave person did something, but he's not stating a fact either. You can figure that out by looking at the modal verb must in your first sentence.

    In other words, this situation is hypothetical, thus the use of "could"


    • Join Date: Jan 2007
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    #3

    Re: Could/can

    Quote Originally Posted by Belly T View Post
    I know that could is the past tense of can, but why in this case we use like like bellow?
    Whoever did that must be a very brave person
    -> only a very brave person could have done that?
    In your example, the term `could have done' comes from third conditional statement. Look the examples of third conditional, below.

    1. If the brave person had given an opportunity, he could have done that.

    2. If you had given me a chance to be a minister, I could have changed the things around.
    Last edited by user_gary; 12-Apr-2007 at 11:14.

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