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"How is the weather in New York ?"
"It couldn't be better."
Shouldn't we write "It can't be better", since the question is about the present weather in New York.
Comments  
Hi,

"How is the weather in New York ?"

"It couldn't be better."

Shouldn't we write "It can't be better", since the question is about the present weather in New York.

'Could' indcates the hypothetical nature of what is being said.

The broad meaning is eg 'Even if the weather here in New York became similar to the weather in Hawaii, it could not be better.'

Consider 'I am very happy. If I won $100 million dollars, I could not be happier'.

Clive
Debpriya DeShouldn't we write "It can't be better", since the question is about the present weather in New York.
"The weather can't be better than it is right now" makes no sense.
"I can't be older than I am right now." (nonsense)

A statement like "The answer to '2 + 2' can't be 5" is okay.
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Debpriya De"How is the weather in New York ?"
"It couldn't be better."
Shouldn't we write "It can't be better", since the question is about the present weather in New York.
No. The difference is this:

It can't be better = It is not possible for it to be better.
It couldn't be better = It would not be possible for it to be better.

Both is and would be can describe a situation in the present.

is makes a flat assertion based in the real world.

would be makes a statement based in an imaginary world.

So It could not be better indicates that the speaker fails to imagine any world (any conditions or differences that he may be able to imagine) in which the weather is better.

It is typical and idiomatic to use couldn't in these situations, probably because it suggests that the speaker has tried hard to think of ways that something might be possible and has failed. It's more dramatic, perhaps!

-- Is the food expensive at Gino's Restaurant?
-- It couldn't be cheaper!

-- Is "Laugh 'Til You Die" a funny play?

-- It couldn't be funnier. You should get tickets for it. You'll love it.

-- How was your day?
-- It couldn't have been better. I won a million dollars!

CJ
CalifJimIt can't be better = It is not possible for it to be better.
It couldn't be better = It would not be possible for it to be better.

Both is and would be can describe a situation in the present.
Hi, CJ,

I don't understand. Do you mean, for example,
It is better that I am not here. ?

I don't understand how a thing can be something and not be that same thing at the same time.

It can't be better = It is not possible for it to be better.

To my understanding, the reason it's not possible for it to be better is because it's not better. It can't be better and not better at the same time.
It can be better later. That's a different tense, is it not?

We typically say, "It can't get any better than this!" NOT "It can't be any better than this."

Someone might reply,
"Well, it's okay to say that, but what you mean is "It couldn't be any better than this."

I'm cool with that. [H]

Rgdz, - A.
AvangiI don't understand how a thing can be something and not be that same thing at the same time.
It can't, and that's what the sentence says. A thing can't be another thing at the same time. This weather can't be better weather at the same time. It's a tautology that X can't be (not X).

A rose can't be a lily. It is not possible for a rose to be a lily.
The number 5 can't be greater than 5. It is not possible for 5 to be greater than 5.

This weather can't be better weather. It is not possible for this weather to be better weather.

Perhaps one of the objections we might raise against "This weather can't be better" is that it is tautologous?

My claim then is that the following are nonsense not because they are contradictions of the form X is not X, but because they are tautologies of the form X can't be (not X).

The weather can't be better than it is right now. [Of course it can't. Nothing can be better than how good it is.]
I can't be older than I am right now.

[Of course you can't ever be any older than your real age.]

CJ
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Okay. We're on the same page. Thank you. Emotion: smile
CalifJimNo. The difference is this:It can't be better = It is not possible for it to be better.It couldn't be better = It would not be possible for it to be better.
CalifJim sir, will you please explain to me the difference between them?I did not understand the difference.Maybe you can give some example and explain to be giving different scenarios

Also what is the difference between

1.I can't agree more.

2.I couldn't agree more.

Thank you.
deepujithe difference
The difference between "is" and "would be" is that "would be" is hypothetical, imaginary.

"can" and "can't" are like "is" (is able to).
"could" and "couldn't" are like "would be" (would be able to).

In other words, "could" contains the idea of "would".
________

Another use of "would" and "could" is to weaken the force of a statement. By doing so, "would" and "could" sound more polite than "will" and "can" in some contexts.

CJ
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