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Could OR can?



 
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Could OR can? #1 (permalink) Mon Oct 23, 2006 21:23 pm   Could OR can?
 

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #92 "Tenses (3)", question 2

She said she'd help him if she ..........

(a) could
(b) can
(c) can't
(d) have been able

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #92 "Tenses (3)", answer 2

She said she'd help him if she could.

Correct answer: (a) could
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could OR can? Why?

Salman
Salman
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Could OR can? #2 (permalink) Mon Oct 23, 2006 22:36 pm   Could OR can?
 

English Learner wrote:
English Language Tests, Intermediate level
ESL/EFL Test #92 "Tenses (3)", question 2
She said she'd help him if she ..........
(a) could
(b) can
(c) can't
(d) have been able
Correct answer: (a) could
Why not can?
This is conditional, and could is correct answer. She said that she'd (she would) help him if she "could". Unfortunately, she can not help him.

I would fly if I could, unfortunately I can not fly...
Toefl
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Could OR can? #3 (permalink) Mon Sep 26, 2011 13:17 pm   Could OR can?
 

Whole sentence is indirect. "She says she will help him if she can." If I begin the sentence with simple past and I put: She said...after she said the tenses change...so the sentence became: She said she'd help him if she could. Could meaning here isn't conditional but present. And she would help him isn't conditional but future.Am I right or am I mistaken?
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Could OR can? #4 (permalink) Tue Sep 27, 2011 14:31 pm   Could OR can?
 

Is Mrs Kati right?

many thanks
Saneta
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Could OR can? #5 (permalink) Tue Sep 27, 2011 15:28 pm   Could OR can?
 

Hi Saneta,

Many thanks because I am very curious me also whether I am right or not? I thought this is present and future in the past. But I am looking forward to seeing clearly.

Regards:
Kati Svaby
_________________
Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Kati Svaby
I'm a Communicator ;-)


Joined: 26 Nov 2009
Posts: 6286
Location: Hungary

Could OR can? #6 (permalink) Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:47 pm   Could OR can?
 

Hello,

As I waited for an answer and I didn't get I tried to find an explanation for my supposition.
The original sentence is: She said she'd help me if she could.

The first thing was that I saw : Conditionals(1.2.3.) in reported/indirect speech.

(Memo: Cond. 1. If you study hard you will pass the exam.
..........Cond.2. If you studied hard you would pass the exam.
..........Cond.3.If you had studied hard you would have passed the exam.)

The 2.3. conditionals (unreal conditions) don't change their verb-tenses in reported/indirect speech.But the first conditional -(the real conditional) changed their verbs.
So : the first example becomes: I said (that) if she studied hard she would pass the exam.-its a real conditional in indirect speech.

As the sentence begins with: She said...it is doubtless this is an indirect speech, isn't it? So we have to use the sequence of tenses

My question: If I see the direct form of the original sentence:
'She will help me if she can', she said. or 'She would help me if she could', she said.' The first is a real conditional, the second an unreal conditional.
So in this indirect sentence the sentence becomes:

1.type:She said she would help me if she could. (real conditional in indirect speech)
2.type:She said she would help me if she could. (unreal conditional in indirect speech)

Can be true that in this case the unreal and real conditional is identical in indirect speech? Can be this reasoning true?

Regards:
Kati Svaby
_________________
Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Kati Svaby
I'm a Communicator ;-)


Joined: 26 Nov 2009
Posts: 6286
Location: Hungary

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