can be vs could be

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halmom

Senior Member
korean
Is there any difference in meaning betweeen can be and could be? For example,

Studying in the U.K could be advantageous for your career.
Studying in the U.K can be advantageous for your career.

I am always confused.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    If you use "can be" in that sentence, you will sound more certain about the advantage. Speakers tend to use "can" instead of "could" when they are fairly certain about something.

    If you use "could be" in that sentence, you will sound less certain about the advantage. "Could be" is hypothetical or uncertain.
     

    zambala

    Senior Member
    latvian
    could be - if you just imagine it as an option or possibility
    - can be - if you are really going to UK and think it can be....

    Or better I would give an example from my own life -

    - If they ask me - Could you open the window? - I would think - may be I can, may be not....
    If they ask - Can you open the window? - I should understand - they expect me to open the window...

    I think so...
     
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