2

The teacher said

Stop talking and be quiet so that we could start the lesson.

Could you tell me why did the teacher use could. Any answer will be appreciated.

2
  • 1
    Interestingly, that would be almost right if it was reported speech - the teacher said to stop talking and be quiet so that we could start the lesson - because reported speech has time based on the surrounding text, thus modals (as with other verbs) shift into the past (in this case).
    – SamBC
    Apr 9 '19 at 16:04
  • Sounds to me like the teacher slightly changed their mind about what they were going to say. In other words, if they had a second chance, I don't think they would have said the same thing. Is this teacher a native speaker? Apr 9 '19 at 16:07
2

Could is more polite than can, but I don't recall the last time I heard someone use it in a sentence like yours.

I would almost always expect to hear:

Stop talking and be quiet so (that) we can start the lesson.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.