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  5. "Ви могли сказати ні!"

"Ви могли сказати ні!"

Translation:You could have said no!

December 16, 2015



The modal verb here is in the past, so I translated "You could have said no" which was accepted. Surprisingly, duolingo says: "Another correct solution: You could say no." This would be a statement about the present, not the past, and it states something that is somehow 'not real' ('could', not 'can'). Do we not need a particle like the Russian бы in these cases?


I agree with you. The hypothetical "could" should have a би.


"You could have said no" sounds like "you had the possibility to say no, but you didn't".

"You could say no" can be hypothetical (Ви могли би сказати ні), but also could mean "you had the possibility to say no (and maybe you did)". Can't it mean that? "Great, you could say no and you said it, good job!"


"You could say no" does not refer to the past. So no, it doesn't mean that. Such is English.


I think it just happens so that "could" is both "simple past" and "imaginary future". Example: "Last week I could say no, but this week I cannot". That's past tense.


could is the past simple form of can, but we don't use it to talk about a single action in the past. For this we use was able to.

"Last week I could have said no, but this week I cannot."

"Last week I was able to say no, but this week I cannot."


"Was able to" is accepted too.

Really? You would never say "I just couldn't say no to that"?


On further reflection.

"He offered me a slice of chocolate cake and I just couldn't say no." however, that is not describing a single event.

The positive version is different.

  • "He offered me a slice of chocolate cake and I could have said no." conditional
  • "He offered me a slice of chocolate cake and I was able to say no." indicative

But not

  • "He offered me a slice of chocolate cake and I could say no."

With other verbs it's different.

  • "I could see the dawn." stative
  • "I could speak Ukrainian." an ability that exited for a long time, but no longer exists.


Oh really... I thought it can mean both... "He offered me a beer and I just couldn't say no to that". So in this case one should say "wasn't able to"? Thanks :)


Thanks a lot!

I get it now. Changed the default version to "could have said" to at least be less confusing. I think I should remove "You could say no" in this case, let me wrap my mind around it :)


I disagree that it translates into "you could say no". It should say "you could have said no" or "you should have said no"

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