May 28th, 2009, 09:01 am
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Join Date: May 27th, 2009
| | Re: 'can' in the past tense - why not?
I've found some examples that show the difference between could and was able to.
- We use could have
to say we were able to do sth, but in fact we didn't.
He could have helped me, if he'd tried. (= but he didn't)
- For general ability in the past we also use was able to
, though could
is more common.
I could/was able to swim when I was five years old.
- For a specific event showing success after trying, we use was able to, managed to, or succeeded in
, but not could
I was able to/managed to solve her problems for her.
- We use couldn't have
to say we were not able to do sth so we didn't.
He couldn't have helped me anyway. (= he didn't)
I hope this will help you. Good luck!