We couldn't have heard it better.

What does the sentence mean?
I think, it means that either we DID NOT hear it so well in the past (subjunctive) OR we might have heard it so well (possibility).

Did I understand it correctly? Could you help me clarify it? Thank you always.

  • 1
    The meaning is ambiguous - it might be extolling the content quality of what we heard (it couldn't have been better expressed) or the clarity with which we heard it (because the speaker had a good PA system, we were well-positioned within the auditorium, etc.). There are no implications for whether we had heard it on any other occasion in the past - simply that on the specific occasion being referenced, it would not have been possible for us to have heard it any better. Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


It means "It would not have been possible for us to have heard it any better".

This could be an exaggeration. Perhaps to be polite

I'm sorry that seats I got you for the opera were at the back of the theatre. Could you hear it okay?
Don't worry we couldn't have heard it better!

The second speaker might be exaggerating, to reassure the first speaker.

It does not mean that the person has heard it in the past, only on this specific occasion it would not have been possible to hear it any better.

  • Thank you so much for your kind answer. The example dialogue you wrote really helped me a lot. Thanks. Commented Mar 4, 2018 at 15:28

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