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so ~ that couldn't have been -ing vs too ~ to have been -ing

Discussion in 'English Only' started by bonbon2023, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. bonbon2023

    bonbon2023 Senior Member

    Korean(south)
    I grasped the meaning of sentence (58), but (59) appears confusing. If I change 59 a little for comprehension, it turns out to be 'He was so scared of the police that couldn't have been telling lies all the time.' I understand the changed sentence, but it is inconsistent with the explanation since there's the explanation starts with "To express time preceding that of the main verb'. I'm not certain whether the changed sentence means the same as the (59).

    Does "He was so scared of the police that couldn't have been telling lies all the time." mean the same as "(59) He was too scared of the police to have been telling lies all the time."? :confused:
     
  2. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    If I've understood you correctly, I think the answer is 'yes, you've found the meaning of (59) (more or less)'.
     
  3. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    Hm. I would greatly prefer:
    Notice that you've left out the subject of the verb "tell lies" in your transcription; you need:
    If you can understand a sentence like "He has been telling lies for all this time," then hopefully the meaning becomes more clear.
     
  4. bonbon2023

    bonbon2023 Senior Member

    Korean(south)
    Thank you for your validation. :)
     

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