Usage of could have happened


A : How are you?

B: I am great. Quitting the band was the best thing that could have happened.


This is a dialogue and I still do not know what "could have happened" means there.


Does it function the same as in


A : Someone was asking for it.

B: It could have been Tom.


Thank you so much as usual and take good care.

asked Feb 03 '13 at 10:01 Hans Contributor

1 answer


Hi again,


Yes, the meaning of could have in your two example dialogues is the same.  In both contexts, the speakers are speculating about alternative hypothetical past events.


In the first dialogue, the speaker identifies her/his quitting the band as the best of several past alternatives available to her/him.  In the second dialogue, the speaker is speculating, making a tentative guess, about who was asking for it.  In both contexts, could have fits and has the same meaning.

link answered Feb 03 '13 at 12:08 Shawn Mooney Expert

Thank you and I am sorry about taking your time a lot, so do you think that the "could have p.p" functions as the one in "If I you had studied harder, you could have passed the exam"?

HansFeb 03 '13 at 12:27

functions as the one -> functions the same as the one

HansFeb 03 '13 at 12:28

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