I called anyone who could/might recommend a painter.

Rizan

Senior Member
India- Hindi
Consider these sentences, please:

a) I called anyone who could recommend a painter.
b) You need to discuss with them how they could help you.


Can I replace could with could possibly in the above sentences? Can I replace could with only might?
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Where did you see these sentence? The first seems an unlikely thing to say, and we wold need to know the context for both sentences to give accurate answers.

    Can I replace could with could possibly in the above sentences?
    Well, you can, but it considerably changes the meaning. "Could possibly" says that you don't expect that anyone can help you, or that you don't expect more than the minimal amount of help. Alternatively, it might express exasperation. What is the context?

    You can replace "could" with "might" but this, too, may change the meaning, from ability to willingness. Again, it is impossible to say without context.
     

    Rizan

    Senior Member
    India- Hindi
    Where did you see these sentence? The first seems an unlikely thing to say, and we wold need to know the context for both sentences to give accurate answers.


    Well, you can, but it considerably changes the meaning. "Could possibly" says that you don't expect that anyone can help you, or that you don't expect more than the minimal amount of help. Alternatively, it might express exasperation. What is the context?

    You can replace "could" with "might" but this, too, may change the meaning, from ability to willingness. Again, it is impossible to say without context.
    Well, they don't have any context. These are mine.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Even your own sentences need context. I very strongly suggest that you imagine a situation first, then think up a sentence to use in that situation, which you can then ask about on here. We cannot guess what situation a sentence might be used in, and what might be correct in one situation may be completely wrong in another.
     

    Rizan

    Senior Member
    India- Hindi
    Even your own sentences need context. I very strongly suggest that you imagine a situation first, then think up a sentence to use in that situation, which you can then ask about on here. We cannot guess what situation a sentence might be used in, and what might be correct in one situation may be completely wrong in another.
    Thank you. I've gotten my answer.

    Is there any difference between may and might in the following sentence?

    You need to discuss with them how they may/might help you.
     
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