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I could’ve done (it) better.

If it’s understood by the context, is it possible to omit it?

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teacherJapan

I could’ve done (it) better.

If it’s understood by the context, is it possible to omit it?

I would say yes. A-John ran the 14-mile race in two hours. B- I could have done better if I wasn't down with a cold.

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Thank you so much, anonymous.
teacherJapan

I could’ve done (it) better.

If it’s understood by the context, is it possible to omit it?

I'd say they are two different expressions. With "it", you are addressing the result of a particular effort of yours: Andy: "That's a nice paint job." You: "I could have done it better. There is paint on the windows."

"Without "it", you are addressing your performance: Amos: "I hear you came in third in the shot put." You: "I could have done better, but I was up all night with my sick hamster."

Although it is possible to drop "it" in the first dialogue, the meaning changes slightly as I suggested. It is not possible to add "it" in the second dialogue.

You are absolutely on the money! In the house painting example, "it" refers to his friend's help. So the "it" cannot be omitted as it is part of the semantic context. In the "race" dialog, with or without the "it", the context is still idiomatic and grammatical.

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anonymousIn the house painting example, "it" refers to his friend's help. S

No, it doesn't. It refers to the job of painting the house.

anonymous In the "race" dialog, with or without the "it", the context is still idiomatic and grammatical.

Shot put is not a race, but I see what you mean. "It" cannot be included there, idiomatically.

Thank you so much, both of you. I really appreciate your great examples and explanation.