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Are both "can" and "could" used in these examples depending on the meaning of each sentence? Or is "could" the only choice in the second example, because in specific situations "can" isn't used? I mean native speakers say "It could rain tomorrow" but not "It can rain tomorrow."

  1. "She can/could be Italian because of her accent."

  2. "You never know. It can/could be sunny tomorrow."

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    This should be answered using a dictionary. If something there is confusing, you should add your research so far.
    – user3169
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 17:21
  • If I am saying that something is generally possible "could" is used not "can". So in the first sentence it should be "could" if I understand correctly and it's a specific situation. And in the second sentence it is again a specific situation so "could" is the only correct answer. Am I right? Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 4:38
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    Yes. Just keep in mind "can" generally refers to ability, which doesn't work in your examples.
    – user3169
    Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 5:48

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It's hard to think of an example where someone would say, "It can be sunny tomorrow." It would require some magic or science fiction.

I can imagine a situation where a woman needs to pretend to be something she isn't. Perhaps she's a Spaniard in China at a time when a theatre company is looking for an actress to play an Italian woman in a movie. Knowing that the Chinese aren't great at distinguishing European accents, someone says, "She can be Italian because of her accent." So she auditions for the role and uses her Spanish accent fool the Chinese director into thinking she is Italian.

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  • Do you mean in this situation "She can be Italian" is understood as "she can pass for an Italian woman"? Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 9:05
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    @AntoniaA Yes I do.
    – Readin
    Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 2:40
  • Thank you. I understand now. Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 17:42

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