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English Grammar Step by Step:
• Contents
• Introduction
• Notes
• Unit 1:  Negative and interrogative sentences
• Unit 2:  Short answers
• Unit 3:  Question tags
• Unit 4:  Questions and exclamations
• Unit 5:  So, neither, nor, either
• Unit 6:  Be, used to, would, be/get/become used to, dare, have, get, become, grow, go, turn, fall and feel
• Unit 7:  Verb tenses: forms
• Unit 8:  Irregular verbs
• Unit 9:  Verb tenses: uses
• Unit 10:  Personal pronouns, possessives and reflexive pronouns
• Unit 11: The genitive case
• Unit 12: Singular and plural nouns
• Unit 13: Gender
• Unit 14: A, an, some, any, no, not, none, each, every and the; compounds of some, any, no and every
• Unit 15: Neither, not...either, none, not...any, both and all
• Unit 16: A few, few, a lot, lots, a little, little, many, much, no and plenty
• Unit 17: Enough, too, so and such
• Unit 18: Comparative and superlative sentences
• Unit 19: The adjective order
• Unit 20: Relative clauses
• Unit 21: Do and make
• Unit 22: Modal verbs
• Unit 23: Infinitives, gerunds and present participles
• Unit 24: Conditional sentences
• Unit 25: Passive sentences
• Unit 26: Reported speech
• Unit 27: Purpose
• Unit 28: Word order
• Unit 29: Inversion
• Unit 30: Connectors
• Unit 31: Prepositions
• Unit 32: Phrasal verbs

Intermediate English Grammar:
• Contents
• Irregular verbs

English Grammar for Beginners:
• Contents
• Unit 1:  A, an, some any and the
• Unit 2:  Some, any + body/one, + thing, + where
• Unit 3:  Personal pronouns and possessives
• Unit 4:  Reflexive pronouns, the reciprocal pronoun "each other" and object pronouns
• Unit 5:  List of irregular verbs

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Home: English Grammar: Advanced:
1603 registered


New User

Jan 5, 2010, 10:19 AM

Post #1 of 4
Question Can't Post

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

Post #2 of 4
Re: [Hosseinabadi] Question [In reply to] Can't Post


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

Post #3 of 4
Re: [Mike] Question [In reply to] Can't Post

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

Post #4 of 4
Re: [Hosseinabadi] Question [In reply to] Can't Post

       This is a really great website
Thanks for your posting;
Hope you can keep going.BlushBlushBlushBlushBlush

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


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