English as a Second Language/word choice

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Question
1.I thanked Daniel because I could not have completed the report without his help.

(1.)Does it mean the same if I replace “could” with “may” or “might”?

(2.)In the sentence, may I change “could not have completed” to “would not have completed”  What is the difference?

2, Serina was so busy completing the schedules that she did not have any time to have lunch.

(1.) In the sentence, may I say also, “…that she did not have much time to have lunch”? What is the difference?
    
The invoice from the contractor was far more than we had expected.

(2.) In the sentence, does it mean the same if I say, “The invoice from the contractor was much higher than we had expected”?


3..In case there is a temporary power outage, an emergency generator in the basement will supply power to the hospital.

(1.)In the sentence, may I replace “a temporary power outage” with “a temporary power failure” or “a temporary blackout”?

(2.) In the sentence, may I say also, “…will supply power for the hospital”? What is the difference?"


4.I am taking a special course because I want to improve my presentation skills.

(1.) In the sentence, may I say also, “…because I am wanting to…” or “…because I have been wanting to…”? What is the difference?

Do you think you could help me redecorate the bathroom next weekend?

In the sentence, may I I change “could” to “ can”, “will” or “may”? What is the difference?

Answer
1.I thanked Daniel because I could not have completed the report without his help.

(1.)Does it mean the same if I replace “could” with “may” or “might”? No.

Can/could express ability; may/might express possibility so you can't use them interchangeably.

(2.)In the sentence, may I change “could not have completed” to “would not have completed”  What is the difference?

couldn't have completed - means there was no way for me to complete the report without his help - and that was a certainty
wouldn't have completed - means that it may have been impossible for me to complete the report without his help... but it's not something certain

2, Serina was so busy completing the schedules that she did not have any time to have lunch.

(1.) In the sentence, may I say also, “…that she did not have much time to have lunch”? What is the difference? In the original sentence you imply that Serina didn't have any time to have lunch, so she didn't have lunch; in the modified one - she had a very short lunch break (she didn't have much time, but still had some time for her lunch break)
   
The invoice from the contractor was far more than we had expected.

(2.) In the sentence, does it mean the same if I say, “The invoice from the contractor was much higher than we had expected”? yes


3. In case there is a temporary power outage, an emergency generator in the basement will supply power to the hospital.

(1.)In the sentence, may I replace “a temporary power outage” with “a temporary power failure” or “a temporary blackout”? yes

(2.) In the sentence, may I say also, “…will supply power for the hospital”? What is the difference?" You can say that... no difference.


4.I am taking a special course because I want to improve my presentation skills.

(1.) In the sentence, may I say also, “…because I am wanting to…” no - this wouldn't be correct
or “…because I have been wanting to…”? yes, this means you have had this wish for quite a while
What is the difference?

Do you think you could help me redecorate the bathroom next weekend?

In the sentence, may I change “could” to “ can”, “will” or “may”? What is the difference? yes to all; the differences are insignificant.  

English as a Second Language

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Amy Baker

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I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.

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I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

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