When it comes to success in PTE, the aspiring students of Bengaluru, Chennai and Coimbatore have their best choice in Sahasriya. The training methods of both PTE Basic Course and PTEAdvanced Course are standing examples of success in PTE achieved with surety. Sahasriya’s best quality PTE training has led to 95+% success in PTE and over 2,500 students clearing PTE in their first attempt. With years of experience on PTE, Sahasriya is the destination for high rate of success in PTE. In Bengaluru or Chennai-Velachery and Porur or Coimbatore, everyday’s note on important aspects of English language is a standing example of high quality PTE coaching. Today, it is about ‘Would‘ and ‘Could‘.

English is full of verbs that seem interchangeable or at least only trivially different, but skilled writers know when and how to use them for maximum clarity.

Could and would are two such verbs. They both have many uses, which makes them confusing for many beginning writers and English language learners.

Although they seem similar, there are definite situations when one word is more appropriate than the other. Verb choice is a crucial part of careful writing, so read on to find out the differences between these two confusing verbs.

When to Use Could

Success in PTE Could

What does could mean? Could is a verb with many senses.

Could is the past tense of can, a verb used to denote ability. In this sense, could refers to some ability that someone had in the past.

For example,

  • In high school, I could play basketball.
  • In my prime, I could bench press 250 pounds.

In both of these examples, could is being used to express an ability that the speaker had in the past.

In other instances, could is a modal verb used to denote possibility. It is also used for some conditional present and future tenses of can.

For example,

  • You could have gone to the park with your friends if you had finished your homework on time.
  • Over the next three days, temperatures could reach 14 degree Celsius in Delhi

In both of these examples, could is expressing possibility: things that could have been true or things that could yet come true.

When to Use Would

Success in PTE Would

What does would mean? Would is also a verb with many senses.

Would is the past tense of will, which denotes both ability and certainty.

  • In high school, I would do my homework on the bus.
  • While I was working, I would go out to eat more frequently.

In these examples, the speaker is using would to express a past action, which is helpful when comparing would vs. could.

Let’s take the first of these two examples,

  • In high school, I could do my homework on the bus.
  • In high school, I would do my homework on the bus.

As you can see, could is simply making a statement of ability. When I was in high school, I could do my homework on the bus. I had the ability to do my homework on the bus, but this doesn’t mean that I did. I simply had the ability to do so.

Conversely, would is making a definite claim. Doing my homework on the bus was something that I did do, not just something that I had the ability to do.

Would is also a modal verb used to denote possibility, and it often refers to something that is conditional but definite within those conditions.

Here are some examples,

  • If I were to take a vacation, it would be somewhere cold and snowing.
  • I would buy a big house if I had a a lot of money.

Again, these examples make definite claims. Let’s again look at the first example,

  • If I were to take a vacation, it could be somewhere cold and snowing.
  • If I were to take a vacation, it would be somewhere cold and snowing.

As you can see, could is making a simple claim of ability. If I were to take a vacation, it could be somewhere tropical, but it also could be somewhere cold—perhaps Colorado to go skiing.

But, when we use would, there is no question where the vacation will be. It will be somewhere tropical.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Success in PTE Could Would

Could and would are related, but they mean different things. Could expresses possibility, while would expresses certainty and intent.

A good way to remember the differences between these two words is simply to bring each word back to its root verb.

  • Could is the past tense of can.
  • Would is the past tense of will.

If you are looking to make a statement of ability, think to yourself, “I can do that.”

If you are looking to make a statement of certainty or intent, think to yourself, “I will do that.”

This won’t always get you to the right answer, but it should work most of the time.

Summary

Is it could or would? Both could and would are verbs that have many senses.

  • Could is a conditional verb that expresses possibility.
  • Would is a conditional verb that expresses certainty, intent, or both.

Could is also the past tense of canWould is the past tense of will. Both of these words start with the same letter as their root verb, which makes them easy to remember.

This daily series is an effort by Sahasriya in providing best writing and speaking practices as a part of high rate of success in PTE. These vital tips ensures a student’s aspiration with Sahasriya is the most effective which is what hundreds of students benefit from everyday.

About Sindhu Sriram

Sindhu SriramAn education enthusiast and a self-made entrepreneur in devising unique and simple ways to educate complex elements. An English language expert and a successful role-model for many aspiring trainers. Not only is she the brainchild to have founded Sahasriya, she is a top-notch and sought after English language professional

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