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    #1

    Couldn't

    Hello!

    I can't understand the difference between couldn't (do) and couldn't have (done).

    We had a really good holiday. It couldn't have been better.
    We had a really good holiday. It couldn't be better.

    The trip was cancelled last week. Paul couldn't have gone anyway because he was ill.
    The trip was cancelled last week. Paul couldn't go anyway because he was ill.

    Can I use "couldn't (do)" in this type of sentences? Is there any difference in meaning?

    Thanks in advance!


    • Join Date: Sep 2008
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    #2

    Re: Couldn't

    Quote Originally Posted by greegorush View Post
    Hello!

    I can't understand the difference between couldn't (do) and couldn't have (done).
    The first is present tense, the second past, or past conditional or something

    [/quote]
    We had a really good holiday. It couldn't have been better.
    We had a really good holiday. It couldn't be better.
    [/quote]
    Sentence 1 is correct; sentence 2 is wrong: We are having...It....any better

    [/quote]
    The trip was cancelled last week. Paul couldn't have gone anyway because he was ill.
    The trip was cancelled last week. Paul couldn't go anyway because he was ill.
    [/quote]

    This is difficult.
    Here sentence 2 could () be correct depending on when the trip is scheduled.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #3

    Re: Couldn't

    We had a really good holiday. It couldn't have been better.
    We had a really good holiday. It couldn't be better.
    [/quote]
    Sentence 1 is correct; sentence 2 is wrong: We are having...It....any better


    Why? Anyone?

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    #4

    Re: Couldn't

    "couldn't have been better" (In the past)

    "couldn't be better now" (now)

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    #5

    Re: Couldn't

    Thanks for answers but I am still in doubt.

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    #6

    Re: Couldn't

    A
    Modal verbs in the past

    "could" + have + PP
    (Modal)

    ie; I could have gone to the park yesterday (If I hadnt worked)
    it was possible

    You could have been killed! (When you crossed the road without looking)
    it was possible

    You couldn't have seen Tom last night (He's in Italy)
    it wasnt possible

    B

    To express possibility now, rather than in the past...

    I could go to the park now (as I'm free)

    Tom could be on the beach right now. (it's possible)


    Note

    Modal + have + PP is also used in the formation of the Third Conditional.
    To talk wishes/regrets and hypothetical situations in the past.

    ie;
    I would have passed the exam, If I had studied!!
    (but I didnt pass as I didnt study)


    *You can also alter the modal verb for another to change the meaning slightly of the statement;

    would/could/might


    Hope that helps a little

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    #7

    Re: Couldn't

    Hi

    "can" is used to mention about the present ability

    Example: I can run fast


    We use "could" to mention about the future possiblity and the past abilty

    Example: It could rain tomorrow (future possiblity)

    I could run faster when I was younger (past abilty)


    we use "could have" to mention about the past possiblity

    Example: I could have met her If I had reached in time (past possiblity)



    Now we will come to your question

    [/quote]
    We had a really good holiday. It couldn't have been better.
    We had a really good holiday. It couldn't be better.
    [/quote]

    For me the both first and the second sentences makes no sense

    [/quote]
    The trip was cancelled last week. Paul couldn't have gone anyway because he was ill.
    The trip was cancelled last week. Paul couldn't go anyway because he was ill.
    [/quote]

    third (past possiblity ) and and fourth (past ability) sound good....but the meaning is a bit different.. Hope this helps



    I am not a teacher..... Experts please correct me if I am wrong


    jayan

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    #8

    Re: Couldn't

    We had a really good holiday. It couldn't have been better

    makes perfect sense

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Couldn't

    Quote Originally Posted by Luizao View Post
    We had a really good holiday. It couldn't have been better

    makes perfect sense
    If I had posted a response to jayan12's post, it couldn't have been better than yours.

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    #10

    Re: Couldn't

    merci!

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