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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
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      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 559
    #1

    Could you make out....?

    Hi there!

    I found a strange sentence in a textbook.

    "Could you make out what he was saying?"

    Does this possibly mean, "Were you able to understand what he was saying?"

    This sounds strange to me because "could you" is normally used to ask a favor....

    OP

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Tamil
      • Home Country:
      • France
      • Current Location:
      • France

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 241
    #2

    Re: Could you make out....?

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Hi there!

    I found a strange sentence in a textbook.

    "Could you make out what he was saying?"

    Does this possibly mean, "Were you able to understand what he was saying?"

    This sounds strange to me because "could you" is normally used to ask a favor....

    OP
    Were you understand what he was saying (correct)
    Could is used not only to ask a favour, but also...
    1. sometimes could is past of can
    2. could to say someone's ability.
    3.could gives present or future meaning.

    not a teacher

  1. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
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      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #3

    Re: Could you make out....?

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Hi there!

    I found a strange sentence in a textbook.

    "Could you make out what he was saying?"

    Does this possibly mean, "Were you able to understand what he was saying?"

    This sounds strange to me because "could you" is normally used to ask a favor....

    OP
    ...But it means 'understand' at a physical level. You could hear somebody's words without understanding them; in that case you could 'make them out', but you still couldn't understand what they meant. You couldn't make them out if they were speaking on a phone with a loud party in the background; so to 'make out' (in this sense) means to overcome some acoustic obstacle.

    b

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