The universe was so infinite, so immense, I felt it'd never fit inside my heart. Could I then just ignore its existence?

I'm not very sure why, it sounds a bit weird. Maybe because it's not a common usage?

  • Wierd is the beginning of it. :D
    – M.A.R.
    Jan 19, 2015 at 14:50
  • Could you please give the source?
    – Stephie
    Jan 19, 2015 at 14:54
  • I think you may be searching for "How could I then just ignore its existence?"
    – TimR
    Jan 20, 2015 at 16:22
  • Also, there's something of a "register mismatch" in it'd. For it to be in the same register as the rest of the sentence, you should not contract there, but say "it would".
    – TimR
    Jan 20, 2015 at 16:24
  • @TRomano Thanks. By the way, what's "register mismatch"?
    – wyc
    Jan 21, 2015 at 2:20

3 Answers 3


The phrase is apt. 'Could i' is used to increase the formality of the question and 'then' has been included to increase the emphasis on the question. People call such clauses as "Poetic Devices".

  • I would disagree with you on the meaning of the "then", I believe it is specifically placing the question in relation to the preceeding statement, along the lines of "Could I ignore it's existence because of the fact it is infinite, immense etc".
    – Vality
    Jan 19, 2015 at 17:34

Maybe it sounds funny because it's poetic. But the usage is OK.

It can be rephrased to "Then, could I...".


It does sound a little strange, but it makes sense. I'd rewrite is as

Could I not just ignore its existence?

  • I think that has a quite different meaning: "Could I then just ignore its existence?" suggests "No, I obviously cannot ignore it", and "Could I not just ignore its existence?" suggests "I wish to ignore it", as if asking permission of someone.
    – Tim S.
    Jan 19, 2015 at 17:34

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