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Need help in understanding can/could, will/would

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New post 08 Sep 2017, 07:40
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Hello everyone,

I have problems understanding when to use can or could, will or would. Could anyone help explain?

An example of GMAT question with this topic:
A large number of educators surveyed view that higher education especially in technology subjects as Electronics and Civil Engineering is outdated at present but that they will or could be made appropriately contemporary in the near future.
A) that they will, or could,
B) that they would, or could,
C) it will be or could
D) believe that such education will be or can
E) believe that such education would or could

I thought that "believe" means we should use "could" or "would" but it is wrong.

Thanks

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Re: Need help in understanding can/could, will/would [#permalink]

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New post 08 Sep 2017, 07:44
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Re: Need help in understanding can/could, will/would [#permalink]

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New post 08 Sep 2017, 07:55
broall: Thanks for the suggestions! Is there anywhere on the forum do you think I can find the grammar explanation about the use of can/could, will/would in general? I haven't really understood this grammar point.

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Re: Need help in understanding can/could, will/would [#permalink]

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New post 08 Sep 2017, 08:35
kimrani wrote:
broall: Thanks for the suggestions! Is there anywhere on the forum do you think I can find the grammar explanation about the use of can/could, will/would in general? I haven't really understood this grammar point.


I dont remember since there is a huge number of topics in this forum :-D Did you try Manhattan GMAT SC Guide? Or try to search it in this forum?
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Re: Need help in understanding can/could, will/would [#permalink]

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New post 10 Sep 2017, 07:30
I tried but haven't found yet :(


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New post 14 Sep 2017, 01:04
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kimrani wrote:
Hello everyone,

I have problems understanding when to use can or could, will or would. Could anyone help explain?

An example of GMAT question with this topic:
A large number of educators surveyed view that higher education especially in technology subjects as Electronics and Civil Engineering is outdated at present but that they will or could be made appropriately contemporary in the near future.
A) that they will, or could,
B) that they would, or could,
C) it will be or could
D) believe that such education will be or can
E) believe that such education would or could

I thought that "believe" means we should use "could" or "would" but it is wrong.

Thanks

Can vs Could

I guess the confusion stems from the misuse of could in our day-to-day conversations. In particular, when they are used to talk about possibility or ability.

The difference in usage lies in the fact that can is used to express current or future ability, whereas could is used to express past ability.

Example:
1) I can solve this question in 2 minutes (present ability)
2) If I reach home by 8 pm, I can cook dinner. (future ability)
3) My grandfather could run marathons at the age of 60. (past ability)

Could is also used to express ability in hypothetical scenarios. Usage of can is such situations is incorrect.
Example:
If I had a million dollars, I could have afforded to fly business class.

Can is also used for permission.
Example: Can I use this pen?

Both can and could can be used for making requests. Using could is considered more formal and polite.
Example:
Could you send me the list of hotels, please?
Can you help me fold this blanket?

In GMAT, the only likely way in which the usage of can vs could will be tested is with respect to their usage while indicating ability. So keeping the tense of usage in mind should be sufficient.

Need to rush now. Will post about will vs would later.
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Joined: 10 Dec 2014
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Re: Need help in understanding can/could, will/would [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2017, 05:47
nishantd88 wrote:
kimrani wrote:
Hello everyone,

I have problems understanding when to use can or could, will or would. Could anyone help explain?

An example of GMAT question with this topic:
A large number of educators surveyed view that higher education especially in technology subjects as Electronics and Civil Engineering is outdated at present but that they will or could be made appropriately contemporary in the near future.
A) that they will, or could,
B) that they would, or could,
C) it will be or could
D) believe that such education will be or can
E) believe that such education would or could

I thought that "believe" means we should use "could" or "would" but it is wrong.

Thanks

Can vs Could

I guess the confusion stems from the misuse of could in our day-to-day conversations. In particular, when they are used to talk about possibility or ability.

The difference in usage lies in the fact that can is used to express current or future ability, whereas could is used to express past ability.

Example:
1) I can solve this question in 2 minutes (present ability)
2) If I reach home by 8 pm, I can cook dinner. (future ability)
3) My grandfather could run marathons at the age of 60. (past ability)

Could is also used to express ability in hypothetical scenarios. Usage of can is such situations is incorrect.
Example:
If I had a million dollars, I could have afforded to fly business class.

Can is also used for permission.
Example: Can I use this pen?

Both can and could can be used for making requests. Using could is considered more formal and polite.
Example:
Could you send me the list of hotels, please?
Can you help me fold this blanket?

In GMAT, the only likely way in which the usage of can vs could will be tested is with respect to their usage while indicating ability. So keeping the tense of usage in mind should be sufficient.

Need to rush now. Will post about will vs would later.


Hello nishantd88: this is exactly what I'm looking for. Thank you for your post!

I look forward to your next post about will/would!!

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Need help in understanding can/could, will/would [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2017, 20:45
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kimrani wrote:
Hello nishantd88: this is exactly what I'm looking for. Thank you for your post!

I look forward to your next post about will/would!!

Posted from my mobile device

Will vs Would

Will is used for future events which are certain.
Example:
1) I will go home at 8
2) If we steal, the police will catch us.
If the event is uncertain, may or might should be used instead of will.

Would is used for hypothetical situations to describe what would happen if certain conditions are met
Example:
If I knew we were not going out, I would have cooked dinner

Would is also used to describe events which were in the future at the time of the original action
Example:
Jack said he would pick up the parcel.

A third usage of would is for requests or asking for permission
Example:
1) Would you like to dance with me?
2) Would I be able to leave early today?

Would is also used to state preference
Example:
1) I would prefer tea to coffee
2) A meeting on Saturday would suit me perfectly

Thing to remember: In GMAT, I have only seen the first two usages of would being tested. A rule of thumb to remember the difference is that 'will' is never past tense. Would is always past tense for the first two usages.
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Last edited by nishantd88 on 16 Sep 2017, 04:20, edited 1 time in total.

Kudos [?]: 67 [2], given: 8

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Joined: 10 Dec 2014
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Kudos [?]: 16 [0], given: 189

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Re: Need help in understanding can/could, will/would [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2017, 20:48
Thanks a lot for sharing the knowledge!

Posted from my mobile device

Posted from my mobile device

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Re: Need help in understanding can/could, will/would   [#permalink] 14 Sep 2017, 20:48
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