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I've read on the internet that the phrases "how could someone" and "why would someone" are used in reference to past events. However, nowhere have I seen them used with past time adverbs. So my question is: are these sentences correct with "yesterday"? Or "could"/"would" sound odd with "yesterday"?

  1. How could you go to the party without me yesterday?

  2. Why would you go to the party without me yesterday?

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Good question. In formal written English, you might change your examples to the past tense.

How could you have gone to the party without me yesterday?

Why would you have gone to the party without me yesterday?

The way you wrote them is acceptable too, and probably more common. Some of the first real-world examples I found: “Why would Germany invade Belgium?” and “Why would Germany support Austria-Hungary?” (I’ve been reading a lot about 1914 lately.)

You’re right, though, that it doesn’t seem to be common to use these modal verbs with adverbs indicating a time in the past. It’s not something I’ve ever consciously avoided doing, but the closest I found in a quick search was “How could you? Yesterday, you ....”

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