What's wrong with the sentence "My next steps could be as follows: blah-blah-blah"?

It has always seemed OK to me, but today I've noticed, that Google suggests using "would" instead of "could" here. So, is "My next steps would be ..." really more appropriate?

  • 1
    What does Google know about what you're trying to say that you don't know better? – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 17 '15 at 17:50
  • I'm just trying to be sure that there is no any grammatical errors in using "could" in this case. I was also confused with the fact that Google search didn't find any example of using "could" in this sentence, everybody uses "would"... – xtx Aug 17 '15 at 18:08

Google suggestions are based on what other people search for and, if there are not many pages found for the phrase you typed, for phrases with a much larger hit count in the search engine. This doesn't necessarily mean that your phrase is wrong, so don't rely on Google to correct your sentences in that way. It can, however, be useful to check how frequently a certain phrase is used by searching for two different phrases and comparing the amount of hits you get on Google.

Now, there is a difference between the sentences when using could or would: The verb could expresses ability or possibility whereas would expresses a hypothetical situation. This is also why would is often accompanied by an if-clause in which you find that the condition for that hypothetical situation. The verb would could also be used to express a suggestion or advice, as in the phrase "If I were you, I would..."

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