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Meg.T
couldn't vs. not be able to "He couldn't be here." vs. "He was not able to join us." Does the second sentence sound a little formal to you? If so, why?
Jan 11, 2016 4:57 AM
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Answers · 2
Yes it does. "is / was able" is generally more formal than "can / could". I don't know why - it just is! "to join us" is a longer way to say "here", in this case. To "join a meeting" is a formal expression.
January 11, 2016
"He couldn't be here." - This uses a shortened form of "could not", so sounds a little informal. vs. "He was not able to join us." - This doesn't use any shortenings. "He wasn't able to join us" would be a more informal version.
January 11, 2016
Meg.T
Language Skills
English, Italian, Japanese
Learning Language
English, Italian