An example of could is someone asking if they can help someone.
An example of could is saying that something is able to happen if someone does something.
I could run faster then. Only men could go to the club in those days.
I could be wrong. Could you come over here?
Could you proofread this email?
If we could help, we would.
- Used as a past indicative.Before I was blind, I could see very well.
- Used as a past subjunctive (irrealis).I think he could do it if he really wanted to.I wish I could fly!.
- Expressing esp. a shade of doubt or a lesser degree of ability or possibility.It could be so.
- Expressing a lesser degree of permission.could I go?.
- Forming the present conditional.It would help if he could wait.
- Forming the past conditional.He would have left if he could.
- Expressing or suggesting politely less certainty than.could you wait?.
Origin of could
- From Middle English coude, from Old English cuþ, preterite form of cunnan (“to be able”). The addition of the silent 'l' was likely a misappropriation attempting to normalize with modal verbs will/would and shall/should. However, while the letter l was historically pronounced in the latter two, can never did have an l sound in it.