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Usage of could in sentence

English translation: See comments below...

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09:57 Jan 9, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Bus/Financial - Marketing / Market Research
English term or phrase: Usage of could in sentence
Hi, I have to translate an english banner text that says:

Click here and you could get started with your free 「product's name」 Starter Kit.

saying: click here, order your Kit and begin working with it.

I am asking myself, if the usage of could in the original is correct here (it seems to be translated from Japanese).
Peter Gennet
Austria
Local time: 20:52
English translation:See comments below...
Explanation:
I would say that it is not INcorrect, inasmuch as the sentence is perfectly valid as it stands; however, I very much suspect it does not in fact convey what the author really meant!

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Note added at 10 mins (2007-01-09 10:08:07 GMT)
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There is no justification for "could" as the past tense of "can", and the use of it as a conditional would be distinctly odd, appearing as it does to cast doubt on the viability of this event.

"Click here and you could win €1,000,000" would be justified, as would Melanie's suggestion of continuing the sentence with some kind of time (etc.) expression.

Otherwise, it just seems to suggest that clicking might or might not work, which I suspect is not at all what the author intended!

It could be that they were just trying to find a future tense form of "can" (which of course doesn't conjugate like that in EN!) — "...and you will be able to..." would make better sense, but be clumsier, of course.
Selected response from:

Tony M
France
Local time: 20:52
Grading comment
Thank you all for the comments. The client is going to review his text now.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +9See comments below...
Tony M
3 +4to get started
Melanie Nassar
4 +2can..........if.........zax
4 +1strange, indeedDavid Moore
4 +1"could" means "could or could not"Andrés Silvart


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +4
usage of could in sentence
to get started


Explanation:
could sounds a little strange, unless followed by something like "click now and you could be (doing whatever you will be doing with the starter kit) within days"

Melanie Nassar
United States
Local time: 21:52
Native speaker of: English

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ken Cox: Better than the existing version, but strictly speaking only true if you can start using the kit immediately after 'clicking here'.
27 mins

agree  Mwananchi
31 mins

agree  Melissa Stanfield: Yes, if the link leads to an order form - unless it is a prize as mentioned by Andrés below. Could indicates possibility - not very reassuring if one is ordering a product online (even though it's free)
3 hrs

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
8 hrs
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6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +9
usage of could in sentence
See comments below...


Explanation:
I would say that it is not INcorrect, inasmuch as the sentence is perfectly valid as it stands; however, I very much suspect it does not in fact convey what the author really meant!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 10 mins (2007-01-09 10:08:07 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

There is no justification for "could" as the past tense of "can", and the use of it as a conditional would be distinctly odd, appearing as it does to cast doubt on the viability of this event.

"Click here and you could win €1,000,000" would be justified, as would Melanie's suggestion of continuing the sentence with some kind of time (etc.) expression.

Otherwise, it just seems to suggest that clicking might or might not work, which I suspect is not at all what the author intended!

It could be that they were just trying to find a future tense form of "can" (which of course doesn't conjugate like that in EN!) — "...and you will be able to..." would make better sense, but be clumsier, of course.

Tony M
France
Local time: 20:52
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24
Grading comment
Thank you all for the comments. The client is going to review his text now.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ken Cox: Cogent as usual. 'Click here' probably leads you to a screen where you can order the kit, which you (logically enough) cannot start using until you receive it. 'Click here to order your starter kit so you can get started with product X' would be better.
24 mins
  -> Thanks a lot, Ken! Yes, much better.

agree  Jack Doughty
32 mins
  -> Thanks, Jack!

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
1 hr
  -> Efharisto, Vicky!

agree  Vanessa Fuller
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Vanessa!

agree  Mehmet Hascan
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Mehmet!

agree  Melissa Stanfield
3 hrs
  -> Thanks, Melissa!

agree  Craig Meulen: There are three usages of the "remote" form (could), Tony mentioned two - past, and conditional. The third is "social" - often politeness - cf. "Would you like ..? vs. Do you want..?" ...// Yes, mainly in requests. But still possible in non-questions.
4 hrs
  -> Thx, Craig for pointing that out; but surely that only applies in questions, not a statement, as here?

agree  Jeanette Phillips: I agree with Ken, but I also think that iit isn't necessaril INcorrct in the language or adv ertising and marketing. I' ve been listening to commercial radio all day, and grammar isn't a priority. Bear in mind the target audience.
6 hrs
  -> Thanks, Jeannette! Certainly not grammatically INCORRECT, but as I said, may not in fact be conveying what the author actually intended

agree  Can Altinbay: With Jeanette. Remember that it's "business English", a subset of bad English.
10 hrs
  -> Thanks, Can!
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20 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
usage of could in sentence
strange, indeed


Explanation:
...but certainly not wrong; often used in marketing texts, and I'd say that it's acceptable due to common usage in the context.

Personally, I think I'd use "Click here, and get started...". I think the "you could" is superfluous, but that's just my opinion.

BTW, I don't see anything to back its originally having come from a Japanese text.

David Moore
Local time: 20:52
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Lesley Clayton: I'd leave out 'you could' too
15 mins
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
usage of could in sentence
"could" means "could or could not"


Explanation:
I think it's correct, and means that if you click you may win and get that free gizmo, or lose and get nothing.

Andrés Silvart
Local time: 19:52
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish, Native in FrenchFrench

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  R-i-c-h-a-r-d: I'm inclined to agree here...if it's advertising then it's can or cannot, could or could not
1 hr
  -> thank you.

neutral  Tony M: It is a pretty poor idea to introduce an element of doubt in such a situation, and there is no mention of possibly "winning" anything
8 hrs
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
usage of could in sentence
can..........if.........


Explanation:
you can get started if you comply with additional conditions..

zax
Local time: 14:52
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  RHELLER: absolutely! this is lawyer jargon - they don't want to be sued
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, Rita

neutral  Tony M: Yes, but you are making the assumption that there is more sentence to come... It does not work stand-alone
6 hrs
  -> Once you click in, more conditions appear gradually. Thanks, Tony.

agree  Deborah Workman: Yes. Could is only correct if in fact there is some reason that there is no guarantee that you can sign up for the kit by clicking the button. If everyone can sign up by clicking, then "can" is more appropriate.
11 hrs
  -> Thanks, Deborah
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