—used to show that one thinks that someone has done or said something shocking or wrong
"We don't need his help anyway." "How can you say that?!"
How could she just walk away from her children like that?
—used to express doubt that something will happen, is possible, etc.
How could I (ever/possibly) leave this job?
How can I (ever/possibly) thank you?
informal—used to show disappointment in someone's actions, thoughts, words, etc.
He threw away my gift? Oh, how could he?
Examples of how can/could in a Sentence
Recent Examples on the WebTopics include where things went wrong for Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox, how can Mac Jones turn the tide in the Patriots’ favor against the Dolphins, and more.—BostonGlobe.com, 15 Sep. 2023 But how can a diminutive performer like himself possibly dominate in this he-man competition?—Pat Padua, Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2023 If people making the music treat it as disposable and nothing more than a stepping stone to other things, how can listeners value it?—Spin Staff, Spin, 12 Sep. 2023 But his older brother, Steve, had his doubts -- how could his brother, a brilliant PhD student with a bright future in mathematics, take his own life?—Allie Weintraub, ABC News, 5 Sep. 2023 So how can today’s students get noticed by college admissions officers and application readers?—Jennifer Brookland, Detroit Free Press, 4 Sep. 2023 And how could Failla’s decision influence future courts and policymakers?—Byben Weiss, Fortune Crypto, 1 Sep. 2023 Online, people wanted to know: how could this really be just a coincidence?—Brock Colyar, Curbed, 25 Aug. 2023 If his months of effort couldn’t extract clear answers, how could other doctors with less inclination for bureaucratic battle figure out what to do?—Cezary Podkul, ProPublica, 14 Aug. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'how can/could.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.