Explaining the Difference Between Could Have Been, Would Have Been, Should Have Been in English Grammar

We often receive questions from English learners all over the world! While we cannot always answer every single one in detail, we really appreciate hearing from you and some of your inquiries make for great lesson ideas. In this video, Gabby will explain about could have been, would have been, should have been in English grammar. This was an excellent question from one of our online learners!

Should have been

We use should have been in order to state our opinion.  

Examples:

“I feel it should have been me going to Europe for that business trip, not Frank”

“The leader should have been Mary”

“There should have been a buttercream frosting on that cake, it would have been perfect”

Would Have Been

We use would have been is used to explain the logic of events.

Examples:

“The party would have been a disaster if Mary didn’t show up, she had everyone laughing”

“I would have been there but I had to pick up my daughter from school early today”

“Frank would have been here earlier, but he got held up in traffic”

Could Have Been

We use could have been in order to discuss potential possibilities.

Examples:

“It could have been a lovely evening, but I had a really bad headache”

“I could have been Queen, had I been born into the royal family”

“Who ate all the cookies? It could have been Mary, she is a bit of a cookie monster”

Watch the video now to hear Gabby explain about could have been, would have been, should have been in English grammar!

 

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