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The first ever comment in this site, i find it very interesting and helpful, thanks for all!!
hi, i have i question about "can" and "could", its well known that "could" is the past form of "can", but sometimes i see sentences where "could" is used in present tenses, in questions also in answers, so how to get the actual use of these words, like i am confused as peoples says, for example ;( you can go to Karachi today after one hour, ) and ( you could go to Karachi today after one hour, )
Hi Baloch Faisal,
I was actually asked just this question a day or two ago and my answer was as follows.
You are correct that 'could' is the past form of 'can'. It is a modal verb and though it can have a present meaning, as in your example, it is formally a past form. This is because in English we use past forms for more than just past time. We can use them to show politeness ('Could you pass me the sugar?' is a little more polite than 'Can you pass me the sugar?'), to show that something is not likely ('If you could help me, that would be great' is less certain than 'If you can help me, that will be great'), amongst other uses.
To learn more about different modal verbs, including 'could', visit this page. You'll see links there to pages about specific modals and meanings.
The LearnEnglish Team
Sir Peter, this thing i know in present "could" is used as politeness, as you gave me example that is below,
We can use them to show politeness ('Could you pass me the sugar?' is a little more polite than 'Can you pass me the sugar?'),
but this is in asking, something like questions, "could" is used above, but my question is also in answering in present tense some times i see peoples using "could", like, (you could get nice job after passing out your study), or (work hard you could win the match tomorrow), are these correct sentences ? if yes then how because "can" is present form it would be put here.
Hello Baloch Faisal,
You asked a similar question about 'can' and 'could' on this page earlier in the week and my answer there explains these examples as well: to describe something in the future which is possible but not certain we use the modal verbs could, may or might ( see this page). Can is used to talk about in more general terms about what is possible or impossible.
To understand these uses I don't think it is helpful to focus on a fixed interpretation of present tense and past tense, but rather to focus on the meanings (possible future, general ability etc) which are being expressed. As I said in my earlier answer, in English we use past forms for many things other than past time reference, and the same is true of present forms and present time reference. This is why many teachers and grammarians prefer to use the less confusing/more neutral terms 'first form' and 'second form' instead of 'present tense' and 'past tense'.
The LearnEnglish Team
Now Internet on of the most ways somebody use to shopping .i do not like shopping online . I enjoying when I go to shopping with my family. That's my opinion.
maria eugenia rosero duarte's picture maria eugenia r... replied on 31 October, 2013 - 16:04 Colombia Permalink
here, in Pasto Colombia there are not special markets like in England. There are malls. I enjoy go to them only when I need something. shopping way internet is not popular in my city. I think someone must be cautious.
wow..They are talking too fast to understand especially when the guy saying 'could do..' Anyway, this site helps me a lot to learn English. Thanks :)
I spend maybe 2 hours of my week shopping at the casino in my University, specially buying my lunch !
I think Internet is an excellent way to buy, because you can choose what you want in your house. :D