Adrian Colomitchi <>

> On Mon, 2012-08-27 at 20:30 +1000, Astrid Nova wrote:
> > Please have a look at and send on the article linked to below on an
> > issue that could affect us all catastrophically. The article
> > supplies a really good argument against what the government is
> > mooting.
> "Could affect"? Why the past tense? 

That's not the past tense; the word “could” doesn't tell you whether
it's past, present or future.

Rather, “could” in this usage is the subjunctive of “can”. Astrid is
saying that it's possible, at some point in time, for the issue to
affect us all catastrophically.

 \           “All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular |
  `\                                      positions.” —Adlai Stevenson |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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