Meaning of COULD in English

/ kəd; NAmE ; strong form kʊd/ modal verb ( negative could not , short form couldn't / ˈkʊdnt; NAmE /)


used as the past tense of 'can' :

She said that she couldn't come.

I couldn't hear what they were saying.

Sorry, I couldn't get any more.

➡ note at can (I)


used to ask if you can do sth :

Could I use your phone, please?

Could we stop by next week?


used to politely ask sb to do sth for you :

Could you babysit for us on Friday?


used to show that sth is or might be possible :

I could do it now, if you like.

Don't worry—they could have just forgotten to call.

You couldn't have left it on the bus, could you?

'Have some more cake.' 'Oh, I couldn't, thank you (= I'm too full) .'


used to suggest sth :

We could write a letter to the director.

You could always try his home number.


used to show that you are annoyed that sb did not do sth :

They could have let me know they were going to be late!


( informal ) used to emphasize how strongly you want to express your feelings :

I'm so fed up I could scream!

➡ note at modal


- could do with sth

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.