Hi there, should I use can or could in the following context? Are they both correct? Please explain.

Here's the context:

  • John, you have been told not to roam on bare foot outside the house. It is winter and you can/could catch a cold if you do so.
Original Post

Hi, Subhajit,

It would be more natural to use might or may there, with might indicating lesser likelihood and may greater likelihood:

  • John, you have been told not to roam on bare foot outside the house. It is winter and you might/may catch a cold if you do so.

Hi, there, and sorry for the interruption.

I agree with you, David that "may" and "might" are better, but I would think that we can use "could" as well.

LDCOE says that "would" is used to say that something is possible or might happen, and it cited the following example:

If you’re not careful, you could get into even worse trouble.

What's your opinion?

Last edited by Hussein Hassan

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