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does it takes alwasy could in past tense. Options
Rajesh Yadav 11
Posted: Sunday, August 2, 2020 7:46:01 AM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 7/12/2020
Posts: 2
Neurons: 13
hi,

I wanted to make a container home so that I could move it whenever I want.

I wanted to make a container home so that I could move it whenever I wanted.

I wanted to make a container home so that I can move it whenever I want.

are the sentences grammatically correct?


in the second sentence can I use "can instead of could" if yes then pls explain.




Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, August 2, 2020 3:54:52 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 34,213
Neurons: 224,906
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hello Rajesh.
Welcome to the forum.

All three are correct; they mean similar things but would be used in different circumstances.

The form of a verb which is usually called "the past tense" is used to "distance" the action from present-time reality.
"I want" - this is true in the present.
"I wanted" can be used to mean that it was true in the past (true, but distanced by time).
"I wanted" can also be used to show that it is only 'possible' in the present, or 'hypothetical'. (distanced from reality in the present).
These forms are often used in this way in conditional sentences.

In your sentences, "want", "wanted", "can" and "could" are used in these ways.

The way I read them is like this:
I wanted to make a container home so that I could move it whenever I want.
At some time in the past, I wanted to make a container home. ("wanted" shows the past tense)
It would be possible to move it if I were ever to want to move it.
I am very likely or certain to want to move it. ("want" shows a high level of reality)
I did not make a container home with this quality of 'being moveable'. ("could" shows unreality)

I wanted to make a container home so that I could move it whenever I wanted.
At some time in the past, I wanted to make a container home. ("wanted" shows the past tense)
It would be possible to move it if I were ever to want to move it.
I am not very likely or certain to want to move it, but it's possible. ("wanted" shows a low level of reality)
I did not make a container home with this quality of 'being moveable'. ("could" shows unreality)

I wanted to make a container home so that I can move it whenever I want.
At some time in the past, I wanted to make a container home. ("wanted" shows the past tense)
It would be possible to move it if I were ever to want to move it. ("can" and "could" both show ability)
I am very likely or certain to want to move it. ("want" shows a high level of reality)
I made a container home with this quality of 'being moveable'. ("can" shows reality)

**********************
It is sometimes not very easy to analyse sentences containing verbs like "can/could, will/would, shall/should, might be" and a few others (called 'modal verbs') - because they are used to show uncertainty, unreality or 'hypothetical situations' AND becuase they often depend on each other.

When you have read or heard a lot of them, it becomes automatic to pick up the different "nuances of meaning".
So - keep reading. Even novels, books for teenagers, anything (teen or young adult novels tend to have slightly simpler vocabulary than many "adult" books).
Most "native speaker" children learn how to use these verbs without ever being taught "the technical rules". It may take some time, and may mean several mistakes to begin with - but "practise makes perfect".
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