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    • Join Date: Oct 2007
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    #1

    can't or couldn't have a nicer one

    ---Are you satisfied with this hotel?
    ---Not a little. We can't have a nicer one.

    I read this dialogue in a test paper. I thought 'can't' was not fine with this situation and we should say 'We couldn't have a nicer one'.

    And I often hear Chinese say 'I can't agree more' if he/she agrees completely. I thought they should say 'I couldn't agree more'. Am I right?

    Thank you very much.
    Last edited by joham; 05-Apr-2009 at 03:43.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #2

    Re: can't or couldn't have a nicer one

    The answer in the the test paper is altogether wrong. This is what it should have been to be properly colloquial: A: "Very much. We couldn't have a nicer one".


    Yes, you are right - it will be "I couldn't agree with you more".


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

    Re: can't or couldn't have a nicer one

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    ---Are you satisfied with this hotel?
    ---Not a little. We can't have a nicer one.

    I read this dialogue in a test paper. I thought 'can't' was not fine with this situation and we should say 'We couldn't have a nicer one'.

    And I often hear Chinese say 'I can't agree more' if he/she agrees completely. I thought they should say 'I couldn't agree more'. Am I right?

    Thank you very much.
    I think that Anglika is probably right but it's so unidiomatic that it's hard to know what they mean. One potential.

    A: Are you satisfied with this hotel?
    B: Not a bit. [but] We can't [have] get a nicer one.

    "I can't agree with you more" is a possibility.

    Results 1 - 10 of about 196,000 English pages for "I can't agree with you more".

    Both say, "it's not possible for me to agree with you any more than I do".

    The difference is the standard difference between can and could with could being less forward, more deferential, more polite, less in your face, softer, etc.

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