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    • Join Date: Sep 2007
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    #1

    Smile couldn't verb vs coundn't have p.p ???

    Hey,

    I wanna express following situation.

    A: hey, did you sleep well?

    B1: No! I couldn't have slept well because of noisy sounds.
    B2: No! I couldn't sleep well because of noisy sounds!

    Which one between B1 and B2 is correct?

    Thanks !!


    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 1,153
    #2

    Re: couldn't verb vs coundn't have p.p ???

    Quote Originally Posted by soleiljy View Post
    Hey,

    I wanna express following situation.

    A: hey, did you sleep well?

    B1: No! I couldn't have slept well because of noisy sounds.
    B2: No! I couldn't sleep well because of noisy sounds!

    Which one between B1 and B2 is correct?

    Thanks !!
    I would not use "could" in these sentence. Although #B2 is not too bad of a sentence. I would say it as follows:

    No! I didn't sleep well because of noisy sounds! or
    No! I didn't sleep well because of all the noise!


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #3

    Re: couldn't verb vs coundn't have p.p ???

    Quote Originally Posted by soleiljy View Post
    Hey,

    I wanna express following situation.

    A: hey, did you sleep well?

    B1: No! I couldn't have slept well because of noisy sounds.
    B2: No! I couldn't sleep well because of noisy sounds!

    Which one between B1 and B2 is correct?

    Thanks !!

    We can and do use <couldn't> to discuss past time events, Soleijy, but in this case, I'd suggest it's a bit more natural to a switch to <wasn't able to sleep well ...>. Note that I'm not saying that you cannot use <couldn't>.

    However, you CANNOT use <couldn't have slept well ...> to get the same meaning, because that gives it a conditional meaning, for example,

    I couldn't have slept well even if there hadn't been noises because the bed wasn't comfortable.

    I have to disagree with my learned colleague, Naamplao, because the use of <didn't sleep well> changes the meaning to a statement of simple fact, whereas the modal or semi-modal gives a more emotive sense.

    Also, "noisy sounds" isn't, IMHO, a very natural way to say this. Naamplao gave you a good alternative. Another is, "the noise".

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