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Which is correct? Is there anything wrong with the sentence?

She ---- whatever cars she liked, but she usually preferred Hondas.

A) had bought
B) could buy
C) is supposed to buy
D) could have bought
E) has bought
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Hi,

Which is correct? D. The whole thing is clearly set in the past.

Is there anything wrong with the sentence? No

She ---- whatever cars she liked, but she usually preferred Hondas.

A) had bought
B) could buy
C) is supposed to buy
D) could have bought
E) has bought


Best wishes, Clive
Clive
Hi,

Which is correct? D. The whole thing is clearly set in the past.

Is there anything wrong with the sentence? No

She ---- whatever cars she liked, but she usually preferred Hondas.

A) had bought
B) could buy
C) is supposed to buy
D) could have bought
E) has bought


Best wishes, Clive

Can't "B" express a general past ability in this sentence? For example, wouldn't B when inserted in the sentence mean "she could buy whatever cars she liked [= she was rich enough to buy whatever cars she liked (a general past ability)], but she usually preferred Hondas. [= but she would buy Hondas (repeated actions in the past)]"?Emotion: rolleyes

Then let me ask you which would be correct if I were to express ability in the past:

a) She could buy whatever cars she liked. (do we know whether she bought any cars or not? Or does the sentence just say that she had a general past ability to buy cars?)

b) She was able to buy whatever cars she liked. (here do we know whether she bought any cars or not?)
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I would pick " b"
Hi guys,

I think these are certainly valid points. I still prefer D, because to me the sentence implies that she actually bought Hondas in the past, and the sense of the sentence is that at the times she bought them, she 'could have' bought another brand.

Possibly, I'm reading too much into the sentence.

Would anyone argue that D is actually not acceptable?

Best wishes, Clive
I'd choose B.

"Could have V-ed" implies the activity V was not realized. "She could have bought any kind of car (if she had wanted to), but she bought a motorbike" is OK. "She could have bought a Porsche (if she had wanted to), but she bought a Honda" is also OK. But "She could have bought any kind of car (if she had wanted to), but actually she chose a Honda" sounds somehow weird to me, because a Honda is a car. To me "She was so rich that she could buy any kind of car, but actually she chose a Honda" sounds more natural.

paco
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D is better than B, in my opinion.

I don't have an adequate explanation, however. It just seems to me that if B is used, the sentence should be as follows:

She could buy whatever cars she liked, and she usually preferred Hondas.

These seem natural:

She could, and she did.
She could have, but she didn't.

This seems a little odd:

She could, but she didn't.

I want to say that some felicity condition is violated, but I don't know what it might be.

CJ
CalifJimD is better than B, in my opinion.
I don't have an adequate explanation, however. It just seems to me that if B is used, the sentence should be as follows:
She could buy whatever cars she liked, and she usually preferred Hondas.
Somehow "She could buy whatever cars she liked, but she usually preferred Hondas" sounds natural to me. It may be because I have a feeling Honda's cars are rather economic.

paco
My assessment was not based on the type of car.
Are you saying that you would prefer a different answer if the name of a very expensive car replaced Honda in that sentence?

CJ
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