Correct usage of tenses

subhajit123 posted:
  • have done as much as I can/could do to get selected for the job, still I have failed.

Should I use can or could there?

Hi, Subhajit,

You should use "can," and you don't need "do" (which can be elided):

  • I have done as much as I can to get selected.

You would use "could" if the clause were in the past tense or past perfect:

  • I did as much as I could to get selected.

Either way, your sentence as a whole is incorrect, because it is a run-on sentence with a comma-splice error. You should add a coordinating conjunction ("but" or "and") before "still":

  • I have done as much as I can to get selected for the job, but/and still I have failed.
  • I did as much as I could to get selected for the job, but/and still I failed.
ruifeng posted:

David, do the two sentences mean the same thing?

Hi, Ruifeng: The sentence in the past tense ("I did as much as I could to get selected for the job, but I still failed) is the more likely of the two sentences, but the sentence in the present perfect ("I have done as much as I can to get selected for the job, but I have still failed") could be used if one had just failed to be selected for the job. (Even then one could use the past tense, though.) Compare: "I have done so much to get selected. I can't believe they've chosen someone else." Apart from the question of immediacy and representation, both sentences have the same meaning.

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