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To leave the township for work in the city, or for any other reason, you had to carry a pass with your ID number; otherwise you could be arrested. ( from Born a Crime)

If I turn the tense into the present, do I have to use 'can' instead of 'could'? When it comes to expressing 'future possibility', does 'could' suggest something tentative, therefore sound less likely?

Thanks.😊🍎

Original Post

Hi, Ruifeng—

@ruifeng posted:

To leave the township for work in the city, or for any other reason, you had to carry a pass with your ID number; otherwise you could be arrested. ( from Born a Crime)

If I turn the tense into the present, do I have to use 'can' instead of 'could'?

No, you don't. But you have to change "had to" to "have to."

@ruifeng posted:

When it comes to expressing 'future possibility', does 'could' suggest something tentative, therefore sound less likely?

Yes, that's right. You might want to consider using "may" instead.

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