Unit 26 Could (do) and could have (done)


  • could 의 여러가지 용법 중 하나는 can 의 과거입니다. (Unit 25C 참조)
    • Listen. I can hear something. (현재)
    • I listened. I could hear something. (과거)
  • couldcan 의 과거로 사용할 뿐만아니라, 현재와 미래에 가능한 행동, 특히 이런 가능한 행동의 제안을 표현합니다. 다음의 예를 보겠습니다.
    • A: What would you like to do tonight?
      B: We could go to the movies.
    • A: When you go to New York next month, you could stay with Candice.
      B: Yes, I guess I could.
    위의 경우에서 “We can go to the movies.” 처럼 can 을 사용할 수도 있지만, couldcan 보다는 불확실합니다.


  • could 는 실제가 아닌 경우에 사용하고,¹ 이런 경우 can 을 사용할 수 없습니다.
    • I’m so tired. I could sleep for a week. (not I can sleep for a week.)
  • cancould 의 비교:
    • I can stay with Candice when I go to New York. (현실적)
    • Maybe I could stay with Candice when I go to New York. (가능하지만 불확실)
    • This is a wonderful place. I could stay here forever. (비현실적)

 § ¹ “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.” 처럼 정도·형편·상태를 강조합니다.


  • 현재와 미래의 추측(가능성)을 나타내는 could. 이런 의미로는 can 을 사용할 수 없고, 이런 의미의 couldmight / may 와 유사합니다. (Units 28-29 참조)
    • The story could be true, but I don’t think it is. (not can be true)
    • I don’t know what time Liz is coming. She could get here at any time.


  • could have (done) 을 사용해서 과거를 표현합니다.
    • I’m so tired. I could sleep for a week. (현재)
      I was so tired. I could have slept for a week. (과거)
    • The situation is bad, but it could be worse. (현재)
      The situation was bad, but it could have been worse. (과거)
  • something could have happened = 가능했지만 일어나지 않은 과거의 일:
    • Why did you stay at a hotel when you were in New York? You could have stayed with Candice. (you didn’t stay with her)
    • I didn’t know that you wanted to go to the concert. I could have gotten you a free ticket. (I didn’t get you a ticket)
    • Dave was lucky. He could have hurt himself when he fell, but he’s OK.


  • couldn’t 로 현재 가능하지 않은 것을 표현:
    • I couldn’t live in a big city. I’d hate it. (= it wouldn’t be possible for me)
    • Everything is fine right now. Things couldn’t be better.
  • couldn’t have (done) 으로 과거에 가능하지 않았던 것을 표현:
    • We had a really good vacation. It couldn’t have been better.
    • The trip was canceled last week. Paul couldn’t have gone anyway because he was sick. (= it would not have been possible for him to go)

 § can 의 과거로 사용하는 could 를 제외하면, could 는 확실하지 않은 현재·미래의 가능성을 나타내는 조동사라고 볼 수 있습니다. 기본 시제는 현재이며 과거의 경우 could have (done) 의 형태로 표현합니다. - 國伊

  Creative Commons License
  이 저작물은 크리에이티브 커먼즈 저작자표시-비영리-변경금지 4.0 국제 라이선스에 따라 이용할 수 있습니다.