student asking question

Is there any difference in nuance between "could have just", "could just have" and "just could have"?

teacher

Native speaker’s answer

Rebecca

There is no real difference in nuance of meaning between "could have just", "could just have" and "just could have" in this particular context. No matter which is used here it still expresses the idea of possibility in the past. Context would affect the nuance of this phrase so bear that in mind when you use it. But every time, the basic meaning is the same and expresses a possibility of something. Ex: You could have just said no. (Saying no was a possibility). Ex: You just could have asked first, is all. (Asking first was a possibility) Ex: You could just have called me. (Calling me was a possibility)

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