Does/Can

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Mad-ox

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hi,

Could you tell me if there is a difference between the following sentences:

1. Does she hear me well now?
2. Can she hear me well now?


or

3. We saw a lot of people there.
4. We could see a lot of people there.



thank you in advance,

Madox
 

apex2000

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1. Does she hear me well now?
2. Can she hear me well now?
The difference is minimal; you could ask either question whether 'she' is present or not.

3. We saw a lot of people there.
4. We could see a lot of people there.
No. 3 is a normal comment in any circumstance. No.4 carries the suggestion that maybe it was not easy to see a lot of people but nevertheless we could see a lot, or, referring to a coming event: (maybe) we could see a lot.
 

riverkid

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Aug 17, 2006
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hi,

Could you tell me if there is a difference between the following sentences:

1. Does she hear me well now?
2. Can she hear me well now?


While there is little difference in the net effect, and each could be applied to a particular situation, each comes from a different source. 'does' refers us to a situation that has become routine/habitual/the common. Perhaps this reflects that a medical procedure has been done on "she".

We can, of course, use 'can' for this same situation, as noted by Apex, but if we were to have a situation where the issue wasn't her hearing, but say a walkie talkie system, number 1, 'does' is no longer possible.


Edited: After some reflection, for the walkie talkie situation, "does she hear me now?", is possible but I'll suggest that this use of 'does' might reflect that the speaker is referring to the state of the equipment, ie. has it returned to its previous working state.

or

3. We saw a lot of people there.
4. We could see a lot of people there.


Instead of 'could', which is possible, I'd say that the greater likelihood is that "We were able to see a lot of people there" would be the more likely choice because, again, as noted by Apex, #4 could have a future conditional sense.




thank you in advance,

Madox

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