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would have; could have; might have would have could have might have should have should not have () ()

Would have indicates certainty that he would have won if he had tried harder, could have indicates that it is a possibility. Might have is similar in meaning to could have, although the possibility is perhaps not quite as great:

Can have / Could have If he'd tried a bit harder, he may have won the race. If he'd tried a bit harder, he could have won the race.

degrees of certainty

If he'd tried a bit harder, he would have won the race.

If he'd tried a bit harder, he might have won the race. 2.Can have / Could have can have
We can also use 'can have' to speculate about what has happened but only in questions and negative sentences and with words such as 'hardly', 'never' and 'only'.

Can she have forgotten about our meeting? He can't have seen us. interested in the job. could have

They can hardly have thought that I was not

We can also use 'could have' to speculate about something that didn't happen.

I'm sure I could have done a better job had I been left to my own resources. done the job in half the time. You could have fooled me. He's a slow worker. Anyone else could have


Who could have done this? Imagine scribbling graffiti here in this place. her such an expensive present.
You can also use 'could have' to talk about possible present situations that have not happened.

Mary tried hard to guess who could have sent

I could have been earning a lot as an accountant but the work was just too boring. got involved in a big financial scandal. They could have been the market leaders now if they had taken his advice. Criticism At the very least you could have told me that you weren't coming. How could you forget that we're going out to dinner tonight?
As with would have, and should have, could have is used to talk about the past and refers to things that people could have done in the past, but didn't attempt to do or succeed in doing:

He could have been Prime Minister now but he

I could have gone to university, if I'd passed my exams. If he'd trained harder, I'm sure he could have completed the swim. 'We might have won the match, if Beckham had been playing from the beginning.' 'I might have gone to school in America, if my parents hadn't moved to Singapore.' 'We could have finished that cup of coffee, if you hadn't insisted on us being here five minutes early.' 'If cholera had been diagnosed earlier, his life could have been saved.'


Note the further variations in the above sentences. In the final example, it is convenient to use the passive voice instead of active voice: 'If they had diagnosed cholera earlier, he might not have died.' And in the David Beckham example, there is a slight preference for past perfect progressive rather than past perfect to emphasise the continuity aspect.

He's a slow worker. Anyone else could have done the job in half the time. You could have told me. Why did you keep it all to yourself? 'You have quite ruined our day. How could you?' she sobbed. 'How could you?' You could have broken your neck, jumping out the window like that. He could have hurt somebody, throwing a bottle out of the window like that. I could have done well in my exam if I'd worked harder. 2.should / should have
Should combines with the perfect infinitive to form should have + past participle when we want to talk about past events that did not happen, but should have happened. We are talking about an expectation and referring back to past time. Compare the following:

Before Tom leaves for work, his wife advises him: You should take your umbrella. It might rain. ~ No, I'll be all right. I shan't need it. But it did rain. When he arrives back home, his wife says: What did I tell you? You should have taken your umbrella. Then you wouldn't have got wet. Reference to the present and future: You should try and smoke less, Henry. Your health isn't very good and it's getting worse. Reference to the past: I should have given up smoking years ago, Mary. If I had, I wouldn't be in such bad shape now. We should've won today's game.

I should have spoken up at the time, but I'm afraid I didn't have the courage of my


convictions. what caused her health problems.

Sarah shouldn't have smoked so much. That's Something's strange. They should have been here long ago. I should have thought it was worse than that.

] ( if you hadn't told me, ) 5.6.would

If we want to talk about an unreal or unlikely situation that might arise now or in the future, we use a past tense in the if-clause and would + infinitive in the main clause. Compare the following and note that would is often abbreviated to 'd:

How would you manage, if I wasn't here to help you? ~ I'd manage somehow. I wouldn't bother to cook. I'd go out to eat or bring home a take-away. I'd ask your mother to help me with the washing and the ironing. I know she'd help me. 7.would have
If we want to refer to the past and make a statement about things that did not happen, we need to use had + past participle in the if clause and would have constructions in the main clause.

If he'd taken an umbrella, he wouldn't have got wet on the way home. If he'd taken his umbrella, he'd have stayed dry. You were supposed to be watching him. You would have seen him leave if you hadn't been lying down on the job. have enough mad money with me. I realize now that it would have been better to have done it differently. I would have gone home alone, but I didn't