simple past tense of can
Before I was blind, I could see very well.
conditional of can Used as a past subjunctive. Used to politely ask for permission to do something. Used to politely ask for someone else to do something. Used to show the possibility that something might happen. Used to suggest something.
I think he could do it if he really wanted to.
Etymology: From Middle English coude, couthe, cuthe, from Old English cūþe, past indicative and past subjunctive form of cunnan ("to be able") (compare related cūþ, whence English couth). The silent 'l' was added in the early 16th century by analogy with should and would, at which time the 'l' in those words was already also silent (and was sometimes not written, leading to shudd, wode, etc).
Samuel Johnson's Dictionary
Couldthe imperfect preterite of can.
Was able to; had power to.
And if I have done well, and as is fitting the story, it is that which I desired; but if slenderly and meanly, it is that which I could attain unto. 2 Mac. xv. 38.
What if he did not all the ill he could?
Am I oblig’d by that t’ assist his rapines,
And to maintain his murders? John Dryden, Spanish Fryar.
The English modal verbs are a subset of the English auxiliary verbs used mostly to express modality (properties such as possibility, obligation, etc.). They can be distinguished from other verbs by their defectiveness (they do not have participle or infinitive forms) and by their neutralization (that they do not take the ending -(e)s in the third-person singular). The principal English modal verbs are can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, and must. Certain other verbs are sometimes, but not always, classed as modals; these include ought, had better, and (in certain uses) dare and need. Verbs which share only some of the characteristics of the principal modals are sometimes called "quasi-modals", "semi-modals", or "pseudo-modals".
Could is a modal verb that is used to indicate possibility or ability in conditional or hypothetical situations. It suggests that something is likely or feasible but not certain, or that someone has the potential or capability to do something.
was, should be, or would be, able, capable, or susceptible. Used as an auxiliary, in the past tense or in the conditional present
Etymology: [OF. coude. The l was inserted by mistake, under the influence of should and would.]
Chambers 20th Century Dictionary
kood, pa.t. of Can. [M. E. coude, couth—A.S. cúðe for cunðe, was able; l is inserted from the influence of would and should.]
British National Corpus
Spoken Corpus Frequency
Rank popularity for the word 'could' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #62
Written Corpus Frequency
Rank popularity for the word 'could' in Written Corpus Frequency: #88
Rank popularity for the word 'could' in Verbs Frequency: #14
The numerical value of could in Chaldean Numerology is: 5
The numerical value of could in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1
Apple has some tremendous assets, but I believe without some attention, the company could, could, could -- I'm searching for the right word -- could, could die.
It's still a big toss-up for me right now, it could go Hillary Clinton, it could go Bernie, it could go Rubio, it could go Kasich, it could go Bush.
Dawson Well, all I'm saying is that I want to look back and say that I did it the best I could while I was stuck in this place. Had as much fun as I could while I was stuck in this place. Played as hard as I could while I was stuck in this place. Dogged as many girls as I could while I was stuck in this place.
We said that we were in a window of time in which the invasion could come at any time. President Putin's put in place the capacity to act on very short notice. President Putin could pull the trigger. President Putin could pull it today. President Putin could pull it tomorrow. President Putin could pull it next week. The forces are there if President Putin wants to renew aggression against Ukraine.
I do look back and think about how much worse it could have been, i could have had way more health problems than I had, but my liver is fine! Everything shut down before any more damage could happen. To walk out of there alive, without cirrhosis or needing transplants, you know, it could have been worse.
Popularity rank by frequency of use
Translations for could
From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary
- θα μπορούσεGreek
- می تواندPersian
- सकता हैHindi
- הָיָה יָכוֹלHebrew
- 할 수 있었다Korean
- ar puteaRomanian
- کر سکتے تھےUrdu
- có thểVietnamese
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"could." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 10 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/could>.