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    #1

    can do sth tomorrow

    I'm confident that a solution can be found.

    This sentence is taken for the entry of 'can 4: possibility' of Longman Dictionary, 4th edition.

    Can we say:
    I'm confident that a solution can be found tomorrow/ by the end of this week/ by the end of this year.
    (I mean to be more specific in time.)

    Could I ask native speakers to help me please?
    Last edited by joham; 02-Mar-2009 at 04:04.


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    #2

    Re: can do sth tomorrow

    The simple answer is YES.
    I'm confident that a solution can be found tomorrow -This suggests that they are not trying anymore today, but will resume tomorrow, as in UN delegates trying to resolve some political dispute.

    I'm confident that a solution can be found by tomorrow - they may continue to discuss the issue that afternoon, and among themselves over dinner that night etc; and expect at some point between now and the end of the next day, a solution will emerge.
    Last edited by David L.; 02-Mar-2009 at 04:43.

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    #3

    Re: can do sth tomorrow

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    The simple answer is YES.
    I'm confident that a solution can be found tomorrow -This suggests that they are not trying anymore today, but will resume tomorrow, as in UN delegates trying to resolve some political dispute.

    I'm confident that a solution can be found by tomorrow - they may continue to discuss the issue that afternoon, and among themselves over dinner that night etc; and expect at some point by the en of the next day, a solution will emerge.
    Then why do many grammar books say that 'can' used for affirmative conjecture/speculation shouldn't go with a future time? (They say we should use 'may/might/could' in such situations.)

    Thank you again, David.


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    #4

    Re: can do sth tomorrow

    Well, firstly, your sentence is not conjecture or speculation, but a confident assertion about a future event.

    To use 'could' in your sentence, it would be something like:

    I'm confident that a solution could be found by tomorrow if they were willing to negotiate a compromise.

    There is no 'if' suggested by your sentence. It is solely that the breakthrough solution will not be overnight!

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    #5

    Re: can do sth tomorrow

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    Well, firstly, your sentence is not conjecture or speculation, but a confident assertion about a future event.

    To use 'could' in your sentence, it would be something like:

    I'm confident that a solution could be found by tomorrow if they were willing to negotiate a compromise.

    There is no 'if' suggested by your sentence. It is solely that the breakthrough solution will not be overnight!
    I got it. Thank you, David. Then if we leave out the heading of 'I'm confident that', the whole sentence is now:

    A solution can/could/may/might be found (tomorrow).

    Are all four words suitable for the sentence?

    Thank you again.

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