I know that "could" is used for past ability but also I see some other sentences like "Could you please..." or something like this which actually doesn't mean an ability in the past.

What are the other kinds of usage for "could"?


Could is used to express unreal meaning, possibility and ability, but, when used in a question, it also offers a more polite way than can to ask permission.

  • 2
    Afshin: Could you have picked a more difficult word to explain? Even if I could list all the ways the word 'could' could be used, I don't think they could all fit in just one comment; it is a very flexible word. Could you ask an easier question next time? (No need to really answer those questions; I'm just providing a few examples of the different usages Barrie mentions.) – J.R. Apr 9 '13 at 23:32

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