The sentence is given: They could easily win the game.

I must transform it using the word "chance". Which one is right:

They had every chance of winning the game.


They have every chance of winning the game.

To me, it's obvious that the right variant is 1. But The keys say it's 2.

  • You can use could/would in present/future tense to express a possibility/condition (I think it's called subjunctive mood if you want to google it). Past is then made using have + past participle. "They could easily win the game" probably means they have/will have a chance at winning. As a past when you are trying to express they had a possibility but did not succeed you'd say it as: "They have had every chance of winning the game". Well, it's not that simple so I'm sure somebody will give you much better answer. – Vico Lemp Apr 9 '17 at 11:16
  • Welcome to ELL, Julia! We expect people to do a little research before posting questions. If their research does not make everything clear, they should post specific questions about what's confusing them, together with details, preferably including links, to their research. In this case, you could look at the differences between have (present simple) and had(past simple) on a web site like this one: learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/verbs/… – JavaLatte Apr 9 '17 at 11:54

The choices in your transformation are identical except for the tense: have versus had.

You need to choose the answer with the correct tense. The given sentence refers to a future possibility.


They could win the game tomorrow.

They could have won the game yesterday, if they hadn't committed so many fouls.

When we refer to a future possibility, we use could + {bare infinitive}. When we refer to a past possibility, we use could plus the perfect: have + {past participle}.

In the transformations with "every chance", had and had are not helper (auxiliary) verbs but the lexical verb "to have", meaning "to possess"; whereas in the the phrase "have won the game", have is a helper verb forming the perfect.

  • Thank you so much! I had no clue about ''could"' for future tense. Now everything is clear! – Julia Shulenina Apr 12 '17 at 18:55

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