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  1. Yesterday I went to see my friend who lost her only son the day before in a car accident. Seeing me she started crying. I could imagine (at the time) what she was going through.

Is "could" OK? Or do we need "could have imagined" here?

"I could've imagined what she was going through."

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"could imagine" is correct: it means that at the time it was possible for you to imagine what she was going through.

"could've imagined" is also technically correct: it means that at the time it was possible for you to imagine what she was going through, but it also specifies that you did not imagine what she was going through. While this is technically correct, it is very unnatural, and "could imagine" is what you probably meant (as "I could imagine" implies that you actually did imagine something on some level).

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