Could Have in the Third Conditional

Could have third conditional

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Recently, I explained the different ways you can use ‘could have’.

In this Engish lesson, I expand on this and you will learn how to use ‘could have’ in the third conditional.


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Could Have in the Third Conditional

The third conditional is used to talk about hypothetical situations in the past. For example, you didn’t go to your friend’s barbecue because you didn’t know about it. You can say:

  • If I had known about it, I would have gone

You can replace ‘would have’ with ‘could have’:

  • If I had known about it, I could have gone

‘Would have’ is more definite. ‘Could have’ talks about the possibility in the past. Here are more examples:

  • He couldn’t have afforded university if his parents hadn’t given him the money.
  • I could have helped you if had told me.

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