In this lesson, you will learn how to use could have.
Below the video, you’ll find lots of examples to help you understand this modal verb.
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Could have is used to talk about something that was or wasn’t possible in the past.
- You could have bought the cheaper jacket, it looked great on you.
- Ben couldn’t have known about the promotion, I haven’t told anyone yet!
We also use could have to say that we were capable of doing something but we didn’t.
- The boy could have run away from the bullies, but he decided to confront them. or
- I couldn’t have done that to him, he is my best friend after all.
Could have is often used with a tone of criticism.
- You could have just been honest with me.
It is also used for speculations about things that didn’t happen.
- Are you out of your mind?! You could have crashed into that wall!
One of the biggest differences between could and could have is that could shows a past ability while could have shows only a past possibility.
- He could swim very fast before the accident.
- He could have swum faster if his leg hadn’t hurt him.
Here are some more examples:
- People could do so much more for their community.
- I couldn’t have said it better myself.
- We could have left the party earlier.
- The girl was crying because she couldn’t find her parents.
- You could have stopped by the grocery store. We need some milk.
- I couldn’t have done it without you.
What to Do Now:
1. Give an example of ‘could have’ in the comment section below.
2. Check out my video on should have