Compare these sentences:
This woman standing right next to him in this picture could very well be his mother
This woman standing right next to him in this picture might as well be his mother
Are they correct and do they mean the same thing?
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They are both correct but they mean different things.
The woman could very well be his mother.
This means the woman might actually be his mother. The speaker isn't certain but thinks it's possible.
The woman might as well be his mother.
This means: (1) the woman looks very very similar to his mother (which we might know because we know what his mother looks like, or just because she looks similar to the man himself); or (2) she is acting like his mother in a way you wouldn't expect a stranger to act (standing near him, messing with his hair, etc). But neither meaning implies that she actually is his mother.