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English definition of “could”

could

modal verb
 
 
strong /kʊd/ weak /kəd/
CAN A2 used as the past form of 'can' to talk about what someone or something was able or allowed to do: I couldn't see what he was doing. You said we could watch television when we'd finished our homework.Skill, talent and ability
POSSIBLE B1 used to talk about what is possible or might happen: The baby could arrive any day now. This kind of crime could easily be prevented. She could have been seriously injured.Possible and probable
ASK A2 used to ask someone politely to do or provide something: Could you lend me £5? Could I have another drink?Polite expressions
ASK PERMISSION B1 used to ask politely for permission to do something: Could I speak to Mr Davis, please?Polite expressions
SUGGEST B1 used to make a suggestion: You could try painting it a different colour.Suggestions and proposals
I could (have) used when you feel so happy, sad, angry, etc that you would like to do something: I was so grateful I could have kissed her! Wanting thingsHoping and hopefulness
(Definition of could from the Cambridge Learners Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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