What is the Difference Between Could and Should?

Would is a versatile verb. In the context of reported clauses, it can be used to give an order, an invitation, or a request. It can also mean “to offer something to another person.”


Could is a closely associated word with the verb’should’ and ‘would’. Both originate from the Old English word cude, which means ‘to be able to’. The present tense of cude is ‘can,’ and the terminal spelling was changed to ‘d’ in the fourteenth century. The two words have become closely related in spelling and usage. Here are some ways they differ and how to tell them apart.

Could is used to talk about someone’s ability. In the past, it means “I was able to do ___.” If someone is unable to perform a task, they could still do it. The conditional form of could can be used in sentences. Could refers to past ability, while would denotes certainty. This verb is often used in reporting structures. Could is also used with modals and verbs. It can also be used in conjunction with sense verbs to express a possibility, whether it is present or future.