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  1. blouen's Avatar
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    #1

    modals

    I could have studied last night...
    I would have studied last night...
    I should have studied last night...

    Please help me explain the difference of the three.

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    #2

    Re: modals

    Quote Originally Posted by blouen View Post
    I could have studied last night...
    It was possible that I studied last night, but I did not.
    I would have studied last night...
    I had to do something else, so I did not study last night, but someone did. or:
    I did something else, so I did not study last night, but someone did.
    I should have studied last night...
    It was my duty to study last night, but I did not.


    Please help me explain the difference of the three.
    not a teacher
    n

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: modals

    Quote Originally Posted by blouen View Post
    I could have studied last night...
    I would have studied last night...
    I should have studied last night...

    Please help me explain the difference (between) the three.
    I could have studied last night...but I chose to watch TV instead.
    "Could have" means that there was nothing preventing you. "Could" can be seen as the past tense of "can" = "to be able". You were able to study last night, but you chose not to. It was just one of your options.

    I would have studied last night... This is the beginning of a conditional sentence. "I would have studied last night if that movie hadn't been on TV". "I would have studied last night, but I had a terrible migraine".

    I should have studied last night...
    The first two sentences might not have any consequences, but "should have" does. "I should have studied last night. I forget we were having a test today. Now I'll probably fail."

    Let's say you had a migraine and didn't study. You had the test. You failed. The teacher says:
    Teacher: "You should have studied. Was there some reason you couldn't
    You: I know I should have, but I had a migraine, so I couldn't study. If I didn't have the headache, I would have studied.

    The difference is the same in the present tense. Here's another example:
    "Should I rob a bank?" No, I shouldn't. It's illegal, perhaps immoral, and I would probably get caught and go to jail.
    "Could I rob a bank?" Perhaps. With the right amount of planning and a few accomplices, and some luck, I probably could.
    "Would I rob a bank?" No. Even though I probably could, I know I shouldn't, and I'd probably get caught. However, this is a conditional question. Circumstances might change, and I might find myself in a position where I felt I could justify it. I probably still wouldn't.



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