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New User

Jan 5, 2010, 10:19 AM

Views: 698290

Would you please tell what the correct answer is to the following question:

Adam........ the party because he was ill.

1) Could not attend
2) could not have attended

To tell you the truth, I really have got problem with the difference between" Could not" and " Could not have". I have studied some grammar books, but with no success. Please help me with that.

Thank you

User / Moderator

Jan 7, 2010, 5:52 PM

Views: 698268
Re: [Hosseinabadi] Question


The correct answer is "could not attend", as it means "was not able to attend". When could means "be able to" or "be allowed to", could is followed by a simple infinitive. More information at http://www.polseguera.org/...mmar/modal_verbs.php

Could have + past participle is used for possibility in the past. More information at http://www.polseguera.org/...mar/modal_verbs1.php

I could swim like a fish when I was five. (ability)
She could have gone to visit her grandfather. Let's ring him to see if she's there.
You could have taken the lift. Now it is working again. (Why didn't you take it?)
You should not have entered that area alone. It is very dangerous. You could have been robbed.

Best regards,

(This post was edited by Mike on Jan 11, 2010, 9:31 PM)

User / Moderator

Jan 7, 2010, 7:39 PM

Views: 698259
Re: [Mike] Question

Hello, again!

I forgot to include a couple of examples about could not and could not have:
Margaret could not have had a car accident last night. She was ill in bed. (That is, it is impossible that Margaret had a car accident last night, as she was at home.)
I could not read when I was two. I was too young. (ability, the same as "I was not able to read when I was two")
I could not arrive home late when I was a teenager. My parents wanted me to be at home at dusk. (permission, the same as "I was not allowed to arrive home late")

Best regards,

(This post was edited by Mike on Oct 29, 2010, 5:12 PM)

New User

Oct 27, 2010, 7:26 AM

Views: 696476
Re: [Hosseinabadi] Question

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(This post was edited by Mike on Oct 27, 2010, 7:47 PM)