Seul
Meaning of Could have not pp Hi, I have a question. Now I’m on a diet and I was talking with my friend about how much I ate during this weekend despite my diet. I ate really alot so I said I’m falling through my diet. And my friend said “But you could've just not eaten it.” What does it mean? Does it mean “but you could choose not to eat.”? According to grammar, I think could have p.p means it was impossible to do something in the past. Then what is this usage?
Oct 7, 2019 12:05 AM
Answers · 7
Gary mentioned the main point - couldn't have done and could have not done are different. Last Friday, I could have purchased X. [=I had the ability/choice to purchase X.] Last Friday, I could have not purchased X. [= I had the choice to not purchase X.] Last Friday, I couldn't have purchased X. [= I didn't have ability/choice to purchase X.]
October 7, 2019
As Chris said, yes, they are different. You could say 'falling off a diet', which isn't very standard, but is an extension to 'falling off the wagon'. I think a more normal expression is 'I was failing to stick to my diet'.
October 7, 2019
Ah are they different? and I meant I’m failing my diet. Then should I use I’m falling off my diet?
October 7, 2019
When English is written from a native English speaker, (such as myself) they will often say phrases that are not grammatically correct. They don't care. It can be very frustrating to people wanting to learn the language as well as people like myself who hate needing to decipher my own language. I'm assuming this was from a Native English speaker because it sounds just like my friends from secondary school (teenagers who don't care about language) For a Native English speaker "You could have just not eaten it" is the same as "You could have chosen to (just) not eat it" (the sentence works both with and without "just" but it implies the choice to be easy)
October 7, 2019
Are you mixing up 'could have not xxx' and 'couldn't have xxx'? I really ate a lot (alot is not a word) also 'falling off' not 'falling through'.
October 7, 2019
Still haven’t found your answers?
Write down your questions and let the native speakers help you!
Seul
Language Skills
English, Korean
Learning Language
English