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could

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verbal auxiliary \kəd, ˈku̇d\

Definition of could

  1. past of can

  1. —used in auxiliary function in the past <we found we could go>, in the past conditional <we said we would go if we could>, and as an alternative to can suggesting less force or certainty or as a polite form in the present <if you could come we would be pleased>



Origin and Etymology of could

Middle English couthe, coude, from Old English cūthe; akin to Old High German konda could


First Known Use: 13th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms



COULD Defined for Kids

could

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\kəd, ˈku̇d\

Definition of could for Students

  1. past of can

  1. 1 —used as a helping verb in the past <Her daughter could read at the age of five.>

  2. 2 —used as a polite form instead of can <Could you help me?>

  3. 3 —used to say something is possible <You could win.> <You could have been hurt.>




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