finally I could top up my tan / I could top up my tan finally!

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Alejandra36

Member
Spanish, Chile
Is this well written:
"We got to see many places and I could top up my tan finally!."
or it is:
We got to see many places and finally I could top up my tan finally!.
Thanks!
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    You have used the word "finally" twice in your second sentence, which I presume was unintentional.

    I would place "finally" after "could."
     

    srta chicken

    Senior Member
    US English
    I agree with Florentia52's advice.

    By the way, I've never heard "top up"...maybe they mean "top off" in a figurative sense? Or maybe it's BE and that's why they use "up" instead of "off"? In any case, in AE, "top up" doesn't work.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I would prefer to use at last rather than finally (I was able to top up my tan at last).

    The reason is that finally is often used as the final act in a sequence, which is not true of at last.

    I visited John. Then I went to see May
    . Finally I rang my sister.

    I had wanted to see the pyramids in Cairo for years. I won the lottery and at /last I had/I finally had/ the money to go there.
     
    Last edited:

    emre aydın

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Is "could" referring to "past ability" here?

    As far as I know, "could" can be used in negative sentences to refer past (un)ability but in positive sentences (as is the case above) it means "be free to do something" or refers to "possibility"(like "may/might").

    So I'd expect "I was able to top up ...", am I not right? :confused::confused:
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    So I'd expect "I was able to top up ...", am I not right?
    The OP has used mean "could" to mean "was able to". I agree "was able to" would have sounded more natural in those sentences.

    (I know this wasn't the subject of the question but I find the use of "top up" in relation to a tan odd.)
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I find the use of "top up" in relation to a tan odd.
    It isn't really. Some people like to look tanned, but when they have a nice tan and then stay out of the sun for several days or weeks, their tan will fade, they will grow paler, and will feel the need to refresh it or top it up.
     

    emre aydın

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    The OP has used mean "could" to mean "was able to".
    Thank you.

    1) So is it correct or wrong to use "could" meaning past ability in positive sentences?

    2) Do some native speakers use it that way? (The answer to this question is more important to me)
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    This sounds very similar to the OP's sentence. I'd prefer "able to" or "managed".

    I could get by with very little sleep when I was younger.
    I could run a mile in five minutes when I was in my twenties.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Can I say "Finally I could fix my computer"?
    I would not recommend it. See other comments about "at last" being probably better than "finally", and "was able to" being better than "could".
    It might depend on context, though. What were the circumstances that meant you could not fix the computer before the moment you are referring to, and what happened to make it suddenly possible?
     
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