Could is a modal verb. Modal verbs are common in English.
Modals are used before other verbs to express ideas such as ability, possibility, certainty, necessity, or permission.
A modal verb is an auxiliary verb. It is a helping verb. It can’t be used by itself in sentence. It must be used before another verb.
It’s useless to try and remember what every modal verb means. One modal verb can have many different meanings. Instead, it’s easier to remember sentence structures.
“If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?”
This question form uses could with the 2nd conditional sentence structure to ask a hypothetical question. A hypothetical question is not a question about real events. A hypothetical question asks you to imagine a different reality.
In this question, the modal verb could is another way of saying if you were able to, or if you had the ability to, or if it were possible to.
These questions follow the same pattern:
if you could + verb, question word + would + verb?
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
You can change the order of the two parts:
Where would you go if you could go anywhere in the world?
Note that you don’t use a comma to separate the two parts of the sentence when the if-clause is in the second part of the sentence.
You can answer this by using part of the question:
I would …
I would go to Paris!
Or you can answer the question with one word:
You can also answer the question by stating that this is someone that you have wanted to do for a long time:
I have always wanted to go to Paris!
If you could play any musical instrument, which would you play?
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
If you could have one skill, what would it be?
If you could be someone else for a day, who would you like to be?
If you could relive one day of your life, which day would you relive?
In the comments, answer one or all of the questions below. Then, ask your own question using “If you could … ?”
- If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- If you could be the president of your country for one day, what would you do?
- If you could have a superpower, what would you choose?
A superpower is a special power or ability to do something, like the ability to read someone’s mind. Usually only fictional characters like Superman or Wolverine have superpowers!
- If you could travel back in time, where and when would you go?
- If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose?