“My dog could [have] jump very high when he was younger”

I did a test and made a mistake. I wrote:

“My dog could have jumped very high when he was younger.”

The right sentence was:

“My dog could jump very high when he was younger.”

When I was making the sentence I was thinking that people usually say “You could have told me!”, there is some action and it is in the past–the same for the dog. Could you explain me what is wrong?


The past form of can is normally could (when you use it in the sense of ability to do something):

John can read. He’s four years old.

When talking about the past, you would say

John could read when he was four years old.

When you say that something could have happened, it means that it almost happened. It could have happened, but it didn’t.

For example,

You could have died!

means it was possible for you to die, but luckily you didn’t.

Source : Link , Question Author : Graduate , Answer Author : stillenat

Leave a Comment