Past or present to explain an active state in a past sentence

So, I have a sentence, more or less like this: “Gil, who HAS a psychokinesis ability, studied math yesterday.” or “Gil, who CAN move things without touching them, studied math yesterday.” So, with those sentences, I want to explain something that happened in the past, while explain a little about Gil himself. The thing is … Read more

Are “should’ve”, “could’ve”, etc. valid short forms of “should have” and “could have”?

This is interesting – if I write “should’ve” (for “should have“), my spell checker underlines the word. Same happens if I do “could’ve” (for “could have“). I use these forms but I’m starting to question if there even is such form and if I’m using English correctly? I also noticed that “I’ve” (for “I have“) … Read more

Is it incorrect to say “If you could”?

I tend to use the following construction often in my e-mails: It would be great if you could… However my German colleague repeatedly reminds me that according to the rules he was taught, using “if” together with “could” in the way I do is strictly speaking incorrect. I am however certain that this construction is … Read more

Is the structure “can have verb-ed” possible?

I have seen and heard sentences like these: He could have gone too far. John can’t have eaten all the cake. But I don’t seem to encounter this structure: She can have done the work. I tried Googling it and found some examples, but I’m still unsure if it’s acceptable. I understand that "may have … Read more

“Can I have one apple from your box?” vs “Could I have one apple from your box?”

Possible Duplicate: When do I use “can” or “could”? I was doing some reading on usage of can and could. I understand that can is used when asking for ability, and could for willingness. I would use can in the following sentence. Can I have one apple from your box? After reading about the usage … Read more

When do I use “can” or “could”?

When should I use can? When should I use could? What is right under what context? Answer Since your name seems Indian, I’ll also mention a common Indian-English idiosyncrasy that may clear up matters for you. There is a tendency in Indian speech to use “could” for “can”, and “would” for “will”. This is wrong … Read more