The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

could vs can Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 7:56:17 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
Posts: 2,142
Neurons: 8,781
If you can help me settle this I would appreciate it.

The above sentence is taken from fraze.it.

Is it correct? Shouldn't it be "If you could help me" instead?

I asked a similar question in an earlier thread and was told such a structure is hypothetical and "could..." should be used. But the sample sentence is from fraze.it. That's why I am confused.

Thanks.

NKM
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 9:11:29 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 3,635
Neurons: 150,199
Location: Corinth, New York, United States
Technically, it would make sense to pair "could" with "would" (or "can" with "will").

But the sentence seems to be not so much a "hypothetical" as a request for help, and I have no objection to the original wording.

Koh Elaine
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 9:34:57 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
Posts: 2,142
Neurons: 8,781
Thanks, thar, it's really confusing.

How do I decide which verb to use?
Koh Elaine
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 12:59:31 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
Posts: 2,142
Neurons: 8,781
NKM wrote:
Technically, it would make sense to pair "could" with "would" (or "can" with "will").

But the sentence seems to be not so much a "hypothetical" as a request for help, and I have no objection to the original wording.

Thanks, NKM. (My apologies for addressing you as thar, in my earlier post. It shows that age is catching up with me, and with it, the mind falters too.)

How do I decide which verb to use? It's really confusing to me.
TMe
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 1:25:34 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/12/2017
Posts: 359
Neurons: 2,299
Koh, there is nothing to worry about.
English grammar is too inconsistent.
Some construction is correct in BE. some in AE.
So needn't worry unless you are an English language teacher.

I am a layman.
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 3:53:25 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 8,144
Neurons: 43,476
Koh,

Some might argue that "could" is the more correct form, but when asking permission, or asking for help, both are commonly used, and sound quite natural, with one used as much as the other.


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
NKM
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 6:21:07 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 3,635
Neurons: 150,199
Location: Corinth, New York, United States
Koh Elaine wrote:
Thanks, NKM. (My apologies for addressing you as thar, in my earlier post. It shows that age is catching up with me, and with it, the mind falters too.)

How do I decide which verb to use? It's really confusing to me.


══════════════════════════════════════════════

First, let me say that I consider it an honor to be mistaken for Thar, no matter how fleeting the error.

Secondly, I can't reliably tell you how to decide which verb to use. As FounDit says, both forms are used and accepted, so — at least in conversation — there's no need to worry about which is preferable. The real criterion is just a matter of what feels right to you at the time, and that may change from one minute to the next.

Koh Elaine
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 10:37:40 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
Posts: 2,142
Neurons: 8,781
Thanks to all of you.
palapaguy
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 11:12:30 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/28/2013
Posts: 204
Neurons: 6,084
Location: Calabasas, California, United States
Koh Elaine wrote:
If you can help me settle this I would appreciate it.

The above sentence is taken from fraze.it.

Is it correct? Shouldn't it be "If you could help me" instead?

I asked a similar question in an earlier thread and was told such a structure is hypothetical and "could..." should be used. But the sample sentence is from fraze.it. That's why I am confused.

Thanks.



I know this answer will not be satisfying but, as others have suggested, yours is a question that does not lend itself to being "settled." "Could" and "can" in your sentence are virtually indistinguishable and would be considered equivalent by most AE speakers. Choose either.
Koh Elaine
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 11:48:35 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/4/2012
Posts: 2,142
Neurons: 8,781
Thanks, palapaguy.
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS
Forum Terms and Guidelines. Copyright © 2008-2017 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.