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How could you do this to me? [It expresses outrage or anger]

While studying the usage of "could", I found the above sentence. But I studied that "could" is used for hypothetical conditions.

So my question is, What is the unstated hypothetical condition in the given question, which made us to use "could" to give that mentioned meaning to this interrogative sentence.

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  • Could is used for hypothetical situations, but not only for them. There's nothing hypothetical about this sentence—it's simply the past tense of can, meaning how were you capable of doing this to me? – Jason Bassford Jul 2 '20 at 5:48
  • @JasonBassford So as mentioned by someone, It expressing outrage or anger is false?? – Ramteja Guthikonda Jul 2 '20 at 5:58
  • Outrage or anger can certainly be expressed by that sentence, but it's not so much a function of could as it is of tone of voice. Exactly the same sentence could also be a simple question. – Jason Bassford Jul 2 '20 at 13:54
  • @JasonBassford Ok thank you, so that means this is just simple past tense form and any meaningful hypothetical interpretation is not at all possible??? – Ramteja Guthikonda Jul 2 '20 at 13:59
  • No, hypotheticals are still possible. But it's not either-or when it comes to the word. The existence of the word alone doesn't determine if it's a hypothetical or not. You have to look at the context of the overall sentence and what's being described. Here's a hypothetical: I would do it if I could. Or I could see it in the right situation. – Jason Bassford Jul 2 '20 at 14:12

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