0

Consider these sentences:

  1. Anyone could/might get a very nasty skin disease from bathing in dirty water.

  2. John could/might get a very nasty skin disease from bathing in dirty water.

  3. I could/might get a very nasty skin disease from bathing in dirty water.

Q1) If (1) is given, can I conclude (2) and (3)?

Q2) Are they all general statements about possibility that do not refer to any particular time, ie, true for any and all time?

Note: Not asking about the difference between "could" and "might"?

2
  • 2
    Of course you are asking about the difference. That is the only question that makes sense.... – Lambie Apr 28 at 18:26
  • Is "John" a human? If John is a robot then 2 might not be true. – James K Apr 29 at 5:11
2

"Anyone" is a very large group of people. Both John and myself are included in "anyone," so if you say "Anyone could experience X" it follows that either John or myself could experience X.

As @Lambie points out, you are asking about the difference between could and might by asking your second question. I would say: "I could get a disease" is more general and covers a longer time frame, while "I might get a disease" is more limited: It's possible I could contract this disease, but if I haven't shown symptoms in three weeks I'll consider myself out of danger.

4
  • Thank you. 1) But from "Anyone might experience X", does it follow that: "John or myself might experience X"? 2) Is sentence (1) in the OP true for all time, both with "could" and "might"? – Mr. X Apr 28 at 18:59
  • 1
    @Mr.X 1) yes, 2) see my answer... – randomhead Apr 28 at 19:12
  • One last question: In your sentence: It's possible I could contract this disease, but if I haven't shown symptoms in three weeks I'll consider myself out of danger. Can I replace the "could" with "can"? – Mr. X Apr 28 at 19:46
  • @Mr.X yes. Look in a dictionary to see the different nuances between the two words. – randomhead Apr 29 at 2:23

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.