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Difference between may, would, might, could


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Difference between may, would, might, could #1 (permalink) Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:51 am   Difference between may, would, might, could
 

hello every body

Could someone explain the difference in the follwing sentences with one exapmles (if patience permitting)
he may come
he may have come
he would come
he would have come
he might come
he could come
he could have come
Smart
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Modals #2 (permalink) Wed Aug 16, 2006 16:22 pm   Modals
 

Hi Smart,

He may come suggests there is a possibilty that he will come.

as in: We have invited him to the party but it's not definite that he will come but he may come.

He may have come suggests that in the past it was possible that he came as in:

I'm not sure whether he came to the house while we were out but he may have come and then gone home.

He would come is part of a conditional as in:

He would come if he had the time but I think he's too busy at the moment.

He would have come is a perfect conditional as in:

He would have come to the party if he had found the time but he worked very late and so it wasn't possible.

He might come suggests there is a possibility that he will come but it's less likely than 'may' as in:

Don't give up hope of him coming. You never know he might come in the end.

He could come is another conditional in the sense of he would be able to as in:

He could come if he wanted to but I don't honestly think he's interested.

He could have come is the perfect conditional form of 'can' as in:

He could have come if he had wanted to but as I said I don't really think he was all that interested.

Alan
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Difference between may, would, might, could #3 (permalink) Sat Aug 19, 2006 7:28 am   Difference between may, would, might, could
 

thank you so much Mr:Alan

it was very clear and simple explainiation.
Smart
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Difference between may, would, might, could #4 (permalink) Sat May 21, 2011 15:18 pm   Difference between may, would, might, could
 

Thank you so much

Your explanation is very clear and easily understandable

Kailash Sharma

SATWAS M.P

Ksharma
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Hello #5 (permalink) Mon Nov 07, 2011 16:04 pm   Hello
 

Hi Alan,

Very clean explanation:)
Arockia.anbarasan
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Re: Difference between may, would, might, could #6 (permalink) Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:02 am   Re: Difference between may, would, might, could
 

Hello Alan,

I would like to go on with the topic and ask some questions. I would be very thankful if you could clarify the issues for me. The thing is I am really confused about could+present infinitive vs could+ perfect indinitive.

I usually use perefect infinitive, when I speak about a completed action in the past.

For example: He knew the situation could have changed.

When saying this I mean: "He knew that perhaps the situation was already different."

I say: "He knew the situation could change", if I mean that there still was a chance for the situation to change, so the action was not completed.

Similary: I knew that the password could have been changed (I knew that perhaps the password was already different)
I knew that the password could be changed (I knew that there was an option to change the password)

However, I've been told that I was to use perfect indinitive, not present, in all the cases. That was really frustrating, for it meant I'd gotten it all wrong.

Please, advise about the usage of perfect infinitive with could.
Pytilovsky
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Difference between may, would, might, could #7 (permalink) Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:11 pm   Difference between may, would, might, could
 

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Hi,

The main point is that 'could' has two meanings. It can mean 'was able to' as in: When I was younger, I could swim for miles but now I can only manage one. It can also mean 'would be abler to' as in: I could come tonight if I have enough time. When 'could' is used in this second sense (would be able to), it can be followed by the present or the perfect infinitive depending on whether the action has taken place or is about to take place. When I say 'I could come', the possibility of my coming is still open. When I say 'I could have come', the time has now passed because now it isn't possible.

Alan
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Some questions about could #8 (permalink) Tue Nov 08, 2011 14:45 pm   Some questions about could
 

Thank you so much, Alan! It was very helpful!

However, I still have some doubts as for could, if I speak about the past.

Let it be a narration. Something like this:

It was a wonderful day. John was walking along the street, she sun was shining, and the birds were singing. John felt like it was an unusual day and anything could happen. (or anything could have happend?)

Or like this:
I was thrilled watching the protagonist getting away, as he could be caught any minute. (Or could have been caught?)
Here I would like to live the possibility open. Perhaps in the next sentense it would be: "So it happened: they caught him; and I had no clue how could he avoid the punisment." (Or could have avoided?)

To cut the long story short, I wonder if I should use could+present infinitive in a narration with past tenses, if I want to leave the possibility open, that is without giving my reader a hint about the outcome).
Pytilovsky
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Re: Difference between may, would, might, could #9 (permalink) Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:20 am   Re: Difference between may, would, might, could
 

"Could someone explain the difference in the follwing sentences with one exapmles (if patience permitting)
he may come
he may have come
he would come
he would have come
he might come
he could come
he could have come"-----------

First of all my Dear Friend, Why do you use "Could" instead of "Can"??
Your Question Should start from Can...Because "can" can be used for indicating future request, instead of could, as, could is used for indicating something that has happened in past.Don't You Think So? Do Reply. I will like your feedback. Even if you want, check my grammar.
Tangyss1217
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Difference between may, would, might, could #10 (permalink) Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:11 am   Difference between may, would, might, could
 

hey Mr Alan, please explain ''However'' and ''But'' my teacher said both has same meaning but when I did find on internet i seen many more than one explanation, now i am in a fix, Is it the deference of positive and negative sense? as: but we use in negative and however we use in positive sense?
Niaz Soomro
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Difference between may, would, might, could #11 (permalink) Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:01 am   Difference between may, would, might, could
 

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Hi,

There are different uses and meanings for both 'however' and 'but'. The most common use for 'but' is to introduce a contrast or a restriction on what has been said before as in: I'll pay for the cost of the concert tickets but I'm not going to pay for the meal afterwards. 'However' is generally used to suggest 'on the other hand' or to suggest an alternative to what has been said before and doesn't really have the same force as 'but' as in: We have decided to go to the concert. However I am not really interested in the music that's being played. This is only a brief outline of the differences. There are other exam[les, too.

Alan
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re #12 (permalink) Sat Feb 25, 2012 22:19 pm   re
 

Thank you so much Mr Alan, I have got the meaning and know the usage of ''but'' and ''however'' here I am writing some sentence just check them,

I am gonna arrange a party tonight. However, I know It will make a trouble for me.

I am student at a language center but I don't like my teacher.
Niaz Soomro
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Difference between may, would, might, could #13 (permalink) Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:09 am   Difference between may, would, might, could
 

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Hi,

Yes, those sentences work. I would suggest you end your first sentence as: I know it will get me into trouble.


Alan
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Difference between may, would, might, could #14 (permalink) Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:41 pm   Difference between may, would, might, could
 

Thank you so much Mr. Alan I hope I could learn more and more. however, I need your hands thanks again.
Niaz Soomro
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Difference between may, would, might, could #15 (permalink) Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:57 pm   Difference between may, would, might, could
 

Alan,
Instead of
"Don't give up hope of him coming. You never know he might come in the end."
can I write :
"Don't give up hope of his coming. You never know he might come in the end."
Allifathima
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