FR: Qui a/aurait pu tuer le voleur ? / Qui peut/pourrait avoir tué le voleur ?

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by Icetrance, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. Icetrance Senior Member

    US English
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2013
  2. yvandas Senior Member

    Canada, french
    The translation would be: Qui aurait pu tuer le voleur? This sentence is broader in sense in that it would identify the attributes of the potential killer. When you say "Qui a pu tuer le voleur?" you are applying the criterion identified by the first sentence to a set of suspects i.e. you are narrowing down your options to eventually identify the more likely suspect.
  3. le chat noir

    le chat noir Senior Member

    Paris, France
    French (by birth!), some English, a bit of Russian and traces of German
    Same nuance as between "could" and "might", I guess.
  4. Icetrance Senior Member

    US English
    Je vois bien ce vous dites-la. Mais, j'avoue ne pas être certain des différentes nuances véhiculées par toutes les trois phrases.

    J'ai toujours pensé que "aurait pu" sous-entendait un acte qui ne s'est jamais produit"'(could have, but never did)

    Je peux avoir tort, mais voilà

    Je reprends ce que je viens de dire. On pourrait dire "Qui aurait pu le voleur?"

    "Qui aurait pu tuer le voleur'" est moins accusateur que "Qui a pu tuer le voleur"?

    ""Qui pourrait avoir tué" semble être synonyme de "Qui a pu tuer le voleur"

    J'aime me prendre la tête.
  5. yvandas Senior Member

    Canada, french
    "Qui aurait pu?" is aiming at identifying the motives/circumstances in a general sense. (Stage one) "Qui a pu?" is aiming at linking the motives/circumstances to suspects. (Stage two)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2012
  6. marcolo

    marcolo Senior Member

    Bordeaux, France
    France, french
    That is very tough, I think that all these sentences are very near. I think like yvandas

    Qui aurait pu tuer le voleur ?

    means that you don't know who could have killed, so there is a broad choice.

    Qui a pu tuer le voleur ?

    will be used if you hesitate among a set of persons.

    Qui pourrait avoir tué le voleur

    for me, it is just another way to say "Qui aurait pu tuer le voleur",
    you put the past on "tuer" instead of "pouvoir", no big deal !
    In the same way

    Qui peut avoir tué le voleur

    is strictly equivalent to "Qui a pu tuer le voleur ?"

    Well, really I think that the nuance is very slight, maybe there is no nuance, and all these expressions are synonym. Spend your time in more interesting questions ... please !

    As said le chat noir, I think that

    Qui a pu tué le voleur = Who could have killed the robber ?
    Qui aurait pu tué le voleur = Who might have killed the robber ?

    In english, what differences would you do between "could" and "might" in these two sentences ???
  7. Icetrance Senior Member

    US English
    It's hard to say for sure, but I think that yvanda's theory is worth being noted. Thanks again yvandas:)

    Tu peux avoir raison aussi, Marcolo. La nuance est minimum, s'il en est.

    Je pense que "aurait pu tuer" est peut-être un peu moins accusateur.

    Contrairement à ce que tu penses, je trouve cette question bien intéressante. ;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2012

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