Perfect Modals – Could Have
PERFECT MODALS are based on the PRESENT PERFECT grammar form which is:
Subject + (v)have + past participle
The form of a Perfect Modal is:
Subject + modal + have + past participle
The nine modals are:
can, could, will, would, may, might, must, shall & should
PERFECT MODALS are used to refer to something in the past.
The meaning changes depending on which MODAL you use.
used to express possibility, an option, or a choice in the past
COULD HAVE means, “This was possible in the past, but it didn’t happen.”
Imagine you are now 40 years old. When you were 20, your parents wanted you to marry their friend’s son, Josh.
Josh was interested in marrying you, but you weren’t interested in Josh.
One day, when you are 40, you are at a family wedding. Josh is at the wedding. He is now a very successful doctor. He is married.
You say to your sister, “I could have married that guy.”
Use COULD HAVE for something that was a possibility in the past, but is not a possibility today.