I'm reading tips and tricks for an exam I'm going to take I and saw the following paragraph:

Be careful with “should vs. could”: e.g the sentence “Product Owner could attend the Daily Scrum” is true, while the sentence “Product Owner should attend the Daily Scrum” is false.

Is it gramatically correct? Why it's not "Product Onwer can attend the Daily Scrum"? If this is correct than what is the difference in meaning of the sentence?

1 Answer 1


Ah, modals. Trust me, they're really confusing.

They're both correct. Actually, all of the example sentences there are grammatically correct, even the should vs could. It's just that their meanings are different. The difference between should and could is more obvious, while with can vs could, it's a lot more subtle.

"Can" means that the product owner has the ability (or time) to attend the Daily Scrum. It also feels more definite, like it's highly probable that he will attend. Meanwhile, "could" feels like the speaker is simply giving a suggestion. It's also considered more polite.

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