1. You're everything I could've ever asked for.

  2. You're everything I could ever ask for.

What's the difference in the meaning of these two sentences?

  • In practice there's virtually no difference. As usual, most native speakers would opt for the simpler version, but feasibly to some meticulous people, the "conditional present perfect" version could more strongly imply that in fact I haven't and might never ask for "everything" anyway (because I'd never expect to have any chance of getting so much, which faintly implies you're even better than in the simpler version). But that's all a bit airy-fairy. Jul 9, 2016 at 18:25
  • Suppose, your girlfriend was supposed to leave you a text, which she didn't, now here do you say "How hard would it have been for you to leave be that text" the implication being she didn't leave you the text. Or do we have the option to use just Would, instead of would have, here as well? @FumbleFingers Jul 9, 2016 at 21:46
  • The difference between How hard would it have been to do that? and How hard would it be to do that? is that the former chides you for failing to make that trivial effort (in the past), whereas the latter urges you to do it in the future (because it's easy). There are contextualized alternative meanings, but they're the main ones. Jul 10, 2016 at 0:21

3 Answers 3


Usually we'd see agreement of time in the tenses of the main clause and the reduced clause.

She was everything he could have ever asked for.

She is everything he could ever ask for.


There's not really much of a difference in terms of the meaning of the sentence, but using "could've" instead of "could" sort of indicates that you're talking about the past instead of the present. In effect they really just mean the same thing.


Assuming the function is set and all tangents are viable, being capable of said 'could or 'could have' one might reproach with exactly that; the equation solving any function applicable to definitive absorption further isolating pertinence of the objectification.
The "have" implication instills open availability without historic impression diluting bias expectations.

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