Results 1 to 6 of 6

    • Join Date: Jul 2007
    • Posts: 722
    #1

    Could vs could have

    What do they mean in the following situations:
    1)The reverend could have thought that Marcy is the mysterious donator.
    2) The reverend could think that Marcy is the mysterious donator.


    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 248
    #2

    Re: Could vs could have

    1) means "It's possible that the reverend thought that Marcy was the donator."
    2) means "It's possible that the reverend thinks that Marcy is the donator."

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Jan 2009
    • Posts: 222
    #3

    Re: Could vs could have

    Quote Originally Posted by gabber View Post
    1) means "It's possible that the reverend thought that Marcy was the donator."
    2) means "It's possible that the reverend thinks that Marcy is the donator."
    Shouldn't it be then:

    The reverend could have thought that Marcy was the mysterious donator.


    • Join Date: Jul 2007
    • Posts: 722
    #4

    Re: Could vs could have

    Oh yes, should be was. But what causes the differences ? could vs could have?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Jan 2009
    • Posts: 222
    #5

    Re: Could vs could have

    Quote Originally Posted by belly_ttt View Post
    Oh yes, should be was. But what causes the differences ? could vs could have?
    As gabber wrote in the first sentence the time is past (It's possible that some time in the past the reverend thought that Marcy was the donator).
    and in the second one the time is present (It's possible that the reverend thinks that Marcy is the donator).
    You should learn the appropriate grammar rule: there are several ways you could use "Could" in your sentences.
    1. We use "could" to say that someone had the general abilities to do something (I could swim; My father could speak three languages etc.);
    2. We use "could" to talk about possible actions now or in the future (We could go to the cinema this evening; I could take you home etc.). "Can" is also possible here but with could the suggestion is less sure.
    3. We use "could" to say that something is possible now or in the future (The story could be true; She could get here at any time etc.). The meaning is similar to "may" or "might" (though there's a little difference in meaning and we discussed about that not long ago).
    So if you want to say about the abilities in the past use "could" without "have" and if you want to say about possible actions in the past or something was possible in the past (your case) use "could have".
    There's something more in the grammar rule about that so better if you'll take a look.

    Have to say that I'm not a teacher so I could be wrong at some points.


    • Join Date: Jul 2007
    • Posts: 722
    #6

    Re: Could vs could have

    Here is what I think:
    Here's what gabber wrote:
    means "It's possible that the reverend thinks that Marcy is the donator."
    But I think it will be true if we say, The reverend thinks that Marcy could have been the mysterious donator.

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
  •