1. You can roast chicken whole or in pieces if you want to/if you like.

  2. You could roast chicken whole or in pieces if you want to/if you like.

  3. You can stay here if you like.

Q1) Does sentence (1) sound like a suggestion to someone, or does it sound like a statement conveying information, or like a statement used for stating a fact about "chicken"?

Q2) Does sentence (2) sound like a suggestion to someone?

Q3) Does sentence (3) sound like a suggestion or an offer?

1 Answer 1


Your sentences are fine with either can or could. Both would be understood as a suggestion because of the context. It's fairly common to use can/could as synonyms in informal English, especially when the context makes the meaning clear.

However, "roast chicken whole or in pieces" sounds a bit odd to my British ears. It's not wrong and can be understood, but it's not something I would say. It sounds non-native. There's a term for chicken which has been cut up into pieces: you can say chicken joints/jointed chicken.

Suggested edit

You can/could roast a whole or jointed chicken if you want/if you like.

  • 1
    Not disagreeing with your jointed Chicken for most Western Cultures. However the majority of the worlds population does not eat jointed Chicken they eat, literally, pieces of Chicken. With the UK being a cosmopolitan society now, it would also apply to some Native UK English speakers.
    – Brad
    Jun 11, 2021 at 2:09
  • @Billy, can I also use sentence (1) to state a fact about "chicken", just like the passive voice sentence: "chicken can be roasted whole or in pieces"?
    – Mr. X
    Jun 11, 2021 at 9:58
  • 1
    @Mr X, yes of course.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 11, 2021 at 9:59
  • @Brad I didn't say there's anything wrong here. It's the "chicken ... in pieces" that sounds odd to me, not "pieces of chicken" which is fine too.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 11, 2021 at 10:02
  • @Billy Kerr I was not criticising just point out the fact. I dream of jointed chicken unfortunately where I live ATM they don't have it. Just chopped up Chuck with the skin still on.
    – Brad
    Jun 11, 2021 at 10:10

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