only you could make it better. What's the meaning of this sentence? Since there is "could", does it mean that the "you" is the only person able to do it (make it better) ? and is it in past tense and grammatically correct?

for eg: I told you that only you could make it better.

My intention is to make it in past tense.


I told you that only you could make it better

The could here is timeless. It can refer to his past, present, or future ability. The use of past tense here is actually a result of a syntactic rule called backshift:

In English grammar, backshift is the changing of a present tense to a past tense following a past form of a reporting verb. Also known as the sequence-of-tense rule.

Backshift (or backshifting) may also occur when a verb in a subordinate clause is affected by the past tense in the main clause. Chalker and Weiner offer an example of backshift where logically the present tense would be used: "I didn't apply for the job, although I was female and had the right degree".


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