I know "could use" means "to want" or "to need" but, if I wanted to write the past version of

I'm sure I can use this tool

then, do I have to avoid using

I was sure I could use this tool

and rephrase into something like this below?

I was sure I would be able to use this tool

1 Answer 1


No. "I could use" doesn't have to take on its idiomatic/slangy usage of "I want". It can also just mean literally, "I could make use of ...". You don't need to rephrase your sentence.

You must log in to answer this question.

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