Results 1 to 9 of 9

    • Join Date: Dec 2006
    • Posts: 18
    #1

    can/could

    Hi!

    i was found this in your Mixed Modals 2

    " Do you think you ____ open the door for me?"

    why could is correct and not can

    i think can shows the ability and sentence is in present tense.

    also how tag is/is tag different from title? (correct this please)

    thanks


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #2

    Re: can/could

    " Do you think you ____ open the door for me?"

    If somebody had two broken arms in plaster of paris casts, then I might say
    " Do you think you can manage to open the door for me?"

    Other than that, he of course has the ability to open a door, so why would I ask him if in fact he does have the ability? - Can you open...?

    'could' is used in these situations, when we are making a polite request of someone, could I ask them to take the trouble to help me by opening the door because, say, I am carrying a heavy tray of dishes.

  1. engee30's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Apr 2006
    • Posts: 2,969
    #3

    Smile Re: can/could

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    " Do you think you ____ open the door for me?"

    If somebody had two broken arms in plaster of paris casts, then I might say
    " Do you think you can manage to open the door for me?"

    Other than that, he of course has the ability to open a door, so why would I ask him if in fact he does have the ability? - Can you open...?

    'could' is used in these situations, when we are making a polite request of someone, could I ask them to take the trouble to help me by opening the door because, say, I am carrying a heavy tray of dishes.
    Surely you could also use could in your example with broken arms in plaster, David. It then would be more tentative than with can.

    The difference is really easy to be explained - using could is more formal and polite rather than can, and therefore more acceptable in that test.



    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #4

    Re: can/could

    Quote Originally Posted by sunil_manjhu View Post
    Hi!

    I [was] found this in your

    No 'was here, Sunil; just "I found this ..."

    Mixed Modals 2

    " Do you think you ____ open the door for me?"

    why could is correct and not can

    i think can shows the ability and sentence is in present tense.

    also how tag is/is tag different from title? (correct this please)

    thanks
    Either can or could work, with could being more polite, as Engee pointed/has pointed out. This isn't a can, nor a could of "ability". These both state, "Is it possible for you to ... ?"

  2. engee30's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Apr 2006
    • Posts: 2,969
    #5

    Smile Re: can/could

    Quote Originally Posted by sunil_manjhu View Post
    ...
    also How tag is /is tag different from title? (correct this please)

    thanks


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #6

    Re: can/could

    Surely you could also use could in your example with broken arms in plaster, David. It then would be more tentative than with can.

    The difference is really easy to be explained - using could is more formal and polite rather than can, and therefore more acceptable in that test.


    The point was to show Sunil the difference between 'can' and 'could', and in what situation 'can' would be appropriate. To meet your requirements, I would have to say:
    "Could you open the door for me please - if you can manage it."

  3. engee30's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Apr 2006
    • Posts: 2,969
    #7

    Question Re: can/could

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    [COLOR="Red"]...
    "Could you open the door for me please - if you can manage it."
    Is there any difference between the two:

    Could you open the door for me please - if you can manage it.
    Can you open the door for me please - if you could manage it.


    I wonder.



    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #8

    Re: can/could

    YES


    Could you open the door for me please - if you can manage it.
    Can you open the door for me please - if you could manage it.



    first sentence: Could you = polite request,
    ....if you can manage = acknowledges that the person has two broken arms and might actually have difficulty in opening the door - he may not be able to manage it.

    second sentence: Can you = acknowledges that the person has two broken arms
    ...if you could manage it = the use of 'could' in the clause changes the meaning of 'manage'. In the first sentence, 'manage' meant = succeed in doing, achieving, or producing (something, esp. something difficult) = Can he successfully open the door with two broken arms?
    In the second, 'manage' means = free, available to do something, could fit something in to your schedule, as in,
    "I know you're busy, but if you could manage to stop off and buy some milk on your way home from work, I can make a rice pudding."
    This meaning is rather odd in the situation of somebody in the room, and being requested to open the door. It's like saying, if you're not too busy, and with a particular tone of voice, can actually be a scornful remark!! It's the equivalent of implying, you fat lazy thing who usually objects to lifting one finger to help me!!
    So - again, yes - a lot of difference!


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #9

    Re: can/could

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    YES

    Could you open the door for me please - if you can manage it.
    Can you open the door for me please - if you could manage it.



    first sentence: Could you = polite request,
    ....if you can manage = acknowledges that the person has two broken arms and might actually have difficulty in opening the door - he may not be able to manage it.

    second sentence: Can you = acknowledges that the person has two broken arms

    'can' is also a polite request, but less so than 'could'.

    By your reasoning here, David, 'could' could also acknowledge that the person has two broken arms and, in fact, following your logic for a moment, may well be more appropriate given the tentative nature of a person with two broken arms being able to open a door.


    So - again, yes - a lot of difference!
    Or, ... not a lot of difference, save for that relating to the degree of politeness, as noted by Engee.

Similar Threads

  1. can/could
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 23-Feb-2008, 02:36
  2. Can/Could you please tell me where the post office is?
    By angliholic in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 17-Nov-2007, 02:42
  3. can/could, will/would and may/might
    By miracleSky in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-Jul-2007, 17:17
  4. can/could & will/would
    By Hello World in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-Feb-2006, 01:15
  5. can/could (favors)
    By dodgerfan2002 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-Jan-2005, 22:29

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •