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I am watching a movie with my friend and we see a scene in which a person drops a catch. Now if I wan to ask about that person, would it be okay to ask in this way?

Who is that guy who wouldn't/didn't/couldn't catch that ball?

And can we use wouldn't, couldn't and didn't interchangeably here?

2 Answers 2

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didn't (opposite of "did")

This is the most neutral of the three options. It suggests that the player might have caught the ball, but on this occasion did not.

couldn't (opposite of "could")

This implies a failure - the player had an opportunity to catch the ball, but was not able to do so.

wouldn't (opposite of "would")

This implies a refusal. The player had an opportunity to catch the ball, but chose not to.

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The differences between the 3 are the following:

Who is that guy who wouldn't catch that ball?

Who is that guy who could catch the ball but didn't want to catch it?

Who is that guy who couldn't catch that ball?

Who is that guy who tried to catch it, but failed to catch it?

Who is that guy who didn't catch that ball?

Who is that guy who wanted to catch the ball, but didn't catch it?

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    Didn't does not imply that the guy wanted to catch the ball; it doesn't say anything at all about the player's state of mind or the reason the ball was not caught. Nov 10, 2016 at 18:22

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