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Unit 27. Could (do) and could have (done).

Unit 27; Part A

galka.jpgWe use could in a number of ways. Sometimes could is the past of can (see Unit 26):
    Listen. I can hear something.  (now)
•    I listened. I could hear something.  (past)
Butcould is not only used in this way. We also use could to talk aboutpossible actions now or in the future (especially to make suggestions).
For example:  
     A: What shall we do this evening?
       B: We could go to the cinema.       
     A: When you go to Paris next month,
could stay with Julia.
       B: Yes, I suppose I could.

is also possible in these sentences
('We can go to the cinema.' etc.). With could, the suggestion is less sure.

Unit 27; Part B

galka.jpg We also use could (not can) for actions which are not realistic. For example:

    I'm so tired, I could sleep for a week.
  (not I can sleep for a week)

Compare can and could:

•    I can stay with Julia when I go to Paris.  (realistic)
•    Maybe I could stay with Julia when I go to Paris. 
(possible, but less sure)
•    This is a wonderful place. I could stay here for ever. 

Unit 27; Part C

galka.jpgWe also use could (not can) to say that something is possible now or in the future. The meaning is similar to might or may (see Unit 29):

    The story could be true, but I don't think it is.
(not can be true)
    I don't know what time Liz is coming. She could get here at any time.

Unit 27; Part D

galka.jpgWe use could have (done) to talk about the past. Compare:

I'm so tired, I could sleep for a week. 
       I was so tired, I could have slept for a week. 
•     The situation is bad, but it could be worse. 
       The situation was bad, but it could have been worse. 

Something could have happened = it was possible but did not happen:

    Why did you stay at a hotel when you were in Paris? You could have stayed with Julia.
     (you didn't stay with her)
•    I didn't know that you wanted to go to the concert. I could have got you a ticket.
     (I didn't get you a ticket)
•    Dave was lucky. He could have hurt himself when he fell, but he's OK.

Unit 27; Part E

galka.jpgWe use couldn't to say that something would not be possible now:

    I couldn't live in a big city. I'd hate it. 
(= it wouldn't be possible for me)
    Everything is fine right now. Things couldn't be better.

For the past we use couldn't have (done):

•    We had a really good holiday. It couldn't have been better.
    The trip was cancelled last week. Paul couldn't have gone anyway because he was ill.

     (= it would not have been possible for him to go)


flag.jpgIn some of these sentences, you need could (not can). Change the sentences where necessary.
Key.3    I could kill him!
4    OK - could have is also possible
5    I could stay here all day
6    it could be in the car (may/might are also possible)
7    OK
8    OK - could borrow is also possible
9    it could change later (may/might are also possible)

1    The story can be true, but I don't think it is. 
2    It's a nice day. We can go for a walk.
3    I'm so angry with him. I can kill him!       
4    If you're hungry, we can have dinner now.       
5    It's so nice here. I can stay here all day, but unfortunately
      I have to go.
6    A: Where's my bag. Have you seen it?
     B: No, but it can be in the car.       
7    Peter is a keen musician. He plays the flute and
     he can also play the piano.       
8    A: I need to borrow a camera.
     B: You can borrow mine.       
9    The weather is nice now, but it can change later. 
   could be true                        
 OK (could go is alsopossible) 





flag.jpgComplete the sentences. Use could or could have + a suitable verb.
Key.2    could have come/gone
3    could apply
4    could have been
5    could have got/taken
6    could come

1    A: What shall we do this evening?
      B: I don't mind. We   could go   to the cinema.
2    A: I had a very boring evening at home yesterday.
      B: Why did you stay at home? You __________ out with us.
3    A: There's an interesting job advertised in the paper. You __________ for it.
      B:  What sort of job? Show me the advertisement.
4    A: How was your exam? Was it difficult?
      B: It wasn't so bad. It __________ worse.
5    A: I got very wet walking home in the rain last night.
      B: Why did you walk? You __________ a taxi.
6    A: Where shall we meet tomorrow?
      B: Well, I __________ to your house if you like.
flag.jpgComplete the sentences. Use couldn't or couldn't have + these verbs (in the correct form):
Key.3    couldn't wear
4    couldn't have found
5    couldn't get
6    couldn't have been
7    couldn't have come/gone
be       be        come        find       get        live       wear
1    I   couldn't live   in a big city. I'd hate it.
2    We had a really good holiday. It _____________ better.
3    I _____________ that hat. I'd look silly and people would laugh at me.
4    We managed to find the restaurant you recommended, but we _____________ it without the map that you drew for us.
5    Paul has to get up at 4 o'clock every morning. I don't know how he does it. I _____________ up at that time every day.
6    The staff at the hotel were really nice when we stayed there last summer. They _____________ more helpful.
7    A: I tried to phone you last week. We had a party and I wanted to invite you.
      B: That was nice of you, but I _____________ anyway. I was away all last week.

Unit 26      Unit 27     Unit 28 forward.jpg 

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