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"March is a month of considerable frustration - it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity seems light years away."
Thalassa Cruso
Please note: The MARS / WARS and FADS sessions are back on Skype for another week, but a couple of Lynne's sessions have been cancelled. Check the calendar for dates and times.
Don't forget to check the calendar(s) for session times. Sessions are held on different platforms, so be sure to find out where the session will take place:-

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For Shiva

LynneLynne Your TeacherHomePosts: 8,830 mod
Shiva asked in the lessons about the difference between could and could be.

Could is what we call a modal verb:-

http://www.learnenglish.de/grammar/verbmodal.html

Click on the link and you will see it can be used in a variety of ways, and that could be why people get confused.

Did you see what I did there?

"Could be" can be used to express the possibility of something being true (or not).

For example: This could be the next forum.

It can also be used to describe the way something / someone behaved in the past:-

For example: As a child I could be a pain in the neck. / My first computer could be very temperamental.

Shiva, if you read this, the best thing to do now is practise a few sentences here.

Comments

  • HermineHermine Moderator Posts: 5,908 mod
    Hi Lynne, I have a question. As a child I would/could be a pain in the neck. Do you agree I could use both of them?
  • HermineHermine Moderator Posts: 5,908 mod
    Sorry Shiva have I been in your section?
  • LynneLynne Your Teacher HomePosts: 8,830 mod
    @Hermine. No, I'm afraid not.

    When I was a child I would try hard to be a pain in the neck. (Would shows intent.)

    When I was a child, I could be a pain in the neck. (Here "could" shows that it wasn't always deliberate.)

    Put it together:-

    When I was a child I would often read two books a week. My mother said I could be a real pain in the neck about it as she was always having to take me to the library.
  • HermineHermine Moderator Posts: 5,908 mod
    I know now why I always have broblems with could and would. In German we have just one word for it. Thanks for the excellent explanation.
This discussion has been closed.