Is "could" ever followed by the past perfect? For example, we can say:

I could have been here before he arrived.

but (I think) the following is wrong:

I could had been here before he arrived.

Is there any situation where we can use the past perfect?

Edit: Are these examples incorrect?

1 Answer 1


I have never seen any verb form following modal verbs other than a bare infinitive.

The bare infinitive of to have is have. You should always use have after could. There are many typos on the internet, i.e., could + had+ past participle and you should compare it with could + have + past participle.

If you Google "could had" now, you get 395,000 hits, but many of them in the first page are questions about whether could + had is correct or not.

If you Google "could have" now, you get 323 million results.

Sometimes, people write could + of + past participle, but it is also a mistake.

[Oxford Online Dictionary]

  • I agree that there are many typos, my main "concern" is that the link I've provived is actually from books. If no one else says anything in the next few hours I'll accept your answer.
    – drM.
    Feb 11, 2016 at 15:13
  • @drM. There was an interesting question on English Language and Usage, "To be pound of something": Correct meaning and usage which is similar to your question. It is about I am proud of and I am pound of. There are more examples of typos on the internet. Just because Google Books search shows some examples of typos doesn't mean that the typos are correct.
    – user24743
    Feb 11, 2016 at 15:21
  • @drM. - Those still look like typos. Books are not immune from typos.
    – stangdon
    Feb 11, 2016 at 15:49

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