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  5. "Cum ai putut?"

"Cum ai putut?"

Translation:How could you?

November 20, 2016



The english translation given here sounds more like present tense. I originally tried translating it as 'How could you have?' to indicate past tense as in 'How could you have done that?' but was not accepted - should it have been or do I just knot know my own native English language well enough again?


While your construction is possible and it's not quite out of circulation... it isn't used often enough to tell Duo. You still see it a lot in books, the older the more likely. Maybe in Europe it is different.


"Could" is literally the past tense form of "can". But modal verbs are special. "How could you have" is possibly present perfect and past perfect and not past tense, but that grammar stuff gets pretty tricky in these situations.


I (BrE speaker) might well say "How could you have?" ("have" pronounced /əv/). Reported. But this is modal perfect. Standard modal past would be "How could you?"


"How could you?" sounds like a reproach to me, meaning "How could you do such a terrible thing?" If I were actually wanting to someone's method, I might say "How were you able (to do that)?" or "How did you manage that?"

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