September 28, 2023

Could have -Modal Verb

Could have -Modal Verb

I. Could have –Modal Verb  denotes past situations to express something that was or wasn’t possible in the past.

Sub + could have + m.v.3+ object, etc.

You could have gone there. You had time.

She could have told me it yesterday.

He could have stayed at my relative’s home. But he booked a room in a hotel to stay a single night.

Katherine couldn’t have known the murder. He had not been told yet.

She could have bought that car. It looked great.

Liza could have gone to any country he wanted to

II. We use Could have -Modal VerbWhen we are capable of doing something, but we didn’t complete what was expected to do.

He could have got a job, but he didn’t go to Mumbai.

She could have got a job in defence, but she didn’t apply for it.

She could have passed the examination, but she didn’t study harder. 

Rajasthan Royals could have won the match, but they didn’t try hard in fielding.

She could have been selected for the government job, but she didn’t prepare for it.

He could have bought a new mobile, but he borrowed a mobile from his brother-in-law.

Why didn’t you tell me about your party? I could have provided you with my car to go to the party.

Rahul could have participated in the quiz competition, but he took his name back from the list.

He could have got good marks in the twelfth standard, but he didn’t study this year.

He could have dropped her sister at her examination centre, but he went to a friends’ party.

She could have got married to Arjun. But she broke up with him last year.

We could have left the theatre earlier.But we ate inside the theatre.

You could have gone to market, but you went to bed early.

III. There is a big difference between could and could have -Modal Verb; could shows ability in past but could have mainly is used to denote past possibility.

He could run fast before the marriage.

He could have run fast if he did not meet with an accident.

The man was shouting a lot because he couldn’t find his child at the fair.

The man who lost his child in the fair could have found him, but he only shouted.  (he didn’t find him)

IV. ‘Could have’ is also used for speculation of things that didn’t happen or take place.

Are you absent-minded? You could have hit your bike with the lorry.

Are you crazy, man? You could have crashed the car.

Have you gone crazy? You could have died if you had taken the poison.

Look there, crazy man; you could have crashed into the door.

V. Could have + past participle (m.v3) denote probability means we make a guess that happened in the past. But we are not confirmed what we are talking about is true or not. We have our own opinion on what happened over there.

Why has Pankaj not come yet?

He could have got stuck in the middle with clients.

He could have forgotten the schedule of the meeting.

He could have got late in getting ready.

He could have gone to bed late and got up late.

He could have attended the other meeting today.

He could have dropped his son at school?


VI. We can also use might have + action III form, which has the same meaning:

He might have got stuck in the middle with clients.

He might have forgotten the schedule of the meeting.

He might have got late in getting ready.

He might have gone to bed late and got up late.

He might have attended the other meeting today.

He might have dropped his son at school?

VII. Could not have/couldn’t have is used to denote something that was not possible in the past:

They could not have been at the office because I was with them in the pub at 6 in the evening.

My client couldn’t have told the truth because he was making you a fool at that time.

VIII. Doer had the wish to complete the action but didn’t complete the action in the past. 

    If + past perfect tense, subject + could have + action III + object + etc.

If I had gone before lockdown in Jaipur, I could have reached home.

If she had known him, she couldn’t have been bankrupt.

If they had got a job on time, their fathers couldn’t have done labour jobs.

If I had studied in my college day, I could have got the campus placement.

IX. Possession of something possibly in the past but We didn’t have.

I could have a Ferrari car in the previous month.

She could have a villa before marriage.

They could have their company two years before.

My father could have depression last year.

I could have a government job those days.


X. Use Could have -Modal Verb When Past compulsion, but the action didn’t take place:

He could have to go to jail.

She could have to pay the fine.

They could have to be beaten.


Choose the suitable auxiliary verbs–can, could, could have – Modal Verb

  1. My friend………. (buy) that house, but he chose the expensive one.
  2. He………. (run) fast in his young age.
  3. Your brother…………. (save), The villagers had time.
  4. I……….. a book store last year.
  5. I……… (solve) this sum in 2nd standard.
  6. He………. (beat) in my childhood.
  7. My elder brother…………. (come) to see my dance competition. He had a holiday.
  8. If I had told him the truth, she……… left his friend.
  9. Dushyant Som………. known the name but none of his friends told him.

10. Angel……………. loan, but he had all the documents.

11. She………. to go to the hospital yesterday. 

12. He………. An MLA ticket if he had desired to buy it.

13. I………. a big home if I want it.

14. Where is your friend now? I really don’t know. He………… gone to his relative party.

15. Look there, crazy man; you………….. crashed to the door.

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