Can vs could (Can it get any worse? vs Could it get any worse?)

Hi,

Can someone please tell me the difference between the following two sentences and when each of them is used?

  1. Can it get any worse?
  2. Could it get any worse?

Also, should there be an exclamatory mark after the sentences?

Both are OK. Also, question mark would be better for the both.

  1. Can it get any worse? = Is there a real chance of it getting worse
  2. Could it get any worse? = Is there a remote chance of it getting worse

Dear Sir,

Pls let me know the difference between can and could.

Regards
Manjula

Hello,

Both ‘can’ and ‘could’ are verbs that refer to the possibility of doing something. The difference is that ‘can’ is more likely to happen and ‘could’ is less likely.

Look at these:

I can come to your house at 10 am tomorrow morning. This means that it is possible and there won’t be any problems in doing this.

I could come to your house at 10 am tomorrow morning but it would be difficult because of the heavy traffic at that time of the day. This means that there is a possibility of my coming but it is not definite.

Alan

Please consider these sentences.
Can you just call after 10 mins? - Is it rude?
Could you just call after 10 mins? - Is it a polite way to use ‘could’ instead of ‘can’?
Thanks

Hello,

I wouldn’t call either ‘rude’. ‘Can’ is more direct and 'could is a little more cautious. I would rephrase also:

Can you call back in about 10 minutes?

Could you call back in about 10 minutes?

Alan

Dear Alan,

Many Thanks.
Is it inappropriate to use ‘after’ there?
What if I add ‘please’ somewhere in those sentences?
Sorry, but I wonder if I could know the reason behind rephrasing those sentences.

Deepi

Hello,

‘In’ I think would be better because it suggests ‘10 minutes later’. ‘Please’ would be fine after ‘Can/could you’ I changed it so that it sounds more conversational.

Alan

Dear Alan,

Thanks a lot.

Deepi