Sometimes I don't understand the meaning of "could " .

The situation is bad, but it could be worse.

In this case what is the meaning of the could ?

1-It might be worse(there is a possiblity to be worse )

2-There was a possibility to be worse (but ıt didn't happen)

If the meaning is "1" .Why did we use "but" instead of "and" , "but" looks awkward normally after the "but" we say the opposite of what we have just said .

And ıf the meaning is "2" why don't we say "this situation is bad , but it could have beeen worse "


2 is correct, though what you have in brackets is implicit not explicit. As to why you don't have "have been" this is because of agreement of tense/aspect with the "is" in "The situation is bad".

  • How can we know 1 is not correct ? Aug 13 '18 at 14:17
  • @TalhaÖzden The first scenario can't be correct because it's already stated that the situation is bad—not worse. We know for a fact that it isn't worse. Aug 13 '18 at 15:40
  • Note that you can say both could be worse and could have been worse and be completely understood either way. There may be a subtle difference in meaning, but it's almost always lost in actual communication. For all intents and purposes, they express the same thing. Idiomatic use aside, however, and from a very strict viewpoint, it should be could have been (could have ended up, could have resulted in, could have happened differently, and so on). Aug 13 '18 at 15:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .