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pash
09-29-2006, 03:29 AM
Which would you prefer to use/see in the gap below, "could" or "were able to"?

"It was hard adjusting to our new environment when we first moved to the mountains. The winters were long and very cold. But, come spring, we _______ walk up to the peaks, watch the melting snow and breathe fresh alpine air, which compensated us no end."

TheIT
09-29-2006, 03:32 AM
Past tense, so "could" or "were able to". "Can" isn't a valid option.

pash
09-29-2006, 07:13 AM
Past tense, so "could" or "were able to". "Can" isn't a valid option.

Sorry, I was giving the base forms of each and hoping that readers would know I meant to use the past forms in the actual text. So, which would you use/prefer? "Could" or "were able to"?

Shadow_Ferret
09-29-2006, 07:18 AM
I prefer could. Why use three words when one will do?

Kentuk
09-29-2006, 07:28 AM
If I had to chose
I could
if was able not to
I wouldn't
works better
without

bryllynt
09-29-2006, 03:55 PM
Another vote for "could" here. "Were able to" reads like a comment on the speaker's physical ability, imo.

bryllynt

pash
09-29-2006, 03:59 PM
Another vote for "could" here. "Were able to" reads like a comment on the speaker's physical ability, imo.

bryllynt

Or the fact that the snow was no longer a barrier to their climbs.

pash
09-29-2006, 04:13 PM
I prefer could. Why use three words when one will do?

Would you use "could" here?

He'd bought the tickets in secret and so we were able to go to the concert after all.
............

I met another Brit in a small downtown bar. I was so happy that I could speak English all night.

K1P1
09-29-2006, 04:51 PM
Would you use "could" here?

He'd bought the tickets in secret and so we were able to go to the concert after all.
............

I met another Brit in a small downtown bar. I was so happy that I could speak English all night.

Yes. "Could" would be less formal so would be more appropriate for spoken English or informal writing. "Were able to" is more formal, so it would just be a question of style.

bryllynt
09-29-2006, 05:17 PM
Or the fact that the snow was no longer a barrier to their climbs.

Yes, I get this. Just offering my opinion. Good luck.

bryllynt

pash
09-29-2006, 08:41 PM
Yes. "Could" would be less formal so would be more appropriate for spoken English or informal writing. "Were able to" is more formal, so it would just be a question of style.

I'd never thought about formality in such a context. Thanks for that push.

pash
09-29-2006, 08:41 PM
Yes, I get this. Just offering my opinion. Good luck.

bryllynt

And to you. Thanks also for the help.