Google tells me that the word “could” is the past tense of “can” and that it is used in making polite requests or suggestions, indicating annoyance that something has been done, indicating a strong inclination to do something or, my favourite, indicating possibility. It further defines “should” as indicating what is probable.
It’s possibility and probability that makes this subject hard to write about. For example, I could have worked harder for some exams (a definite possibility) and that should have given me better results, but the results were dependent on other things too.
It’s the not knowing the result that makes taking a chance so difficult for some who don’t know whether the juice is worth the squeeze, and whether you would do something differently again.
I could use words better and that should give people a better understanding of what I’m trying to say (a definite possibility) but would it have got the result I wanted?
It’s when thinking about all these words that I think they all somehow imply regret. Moving them from their past tense to “can”, “shall” and “will” sounds much more empowering – making a positive decision to take that chance irrespective of possibility or probability.
Now ” Shoulda woulda coulda,” means I’m out of time
Coz “Shoulda woulda coulda” can’t change your mind,
And I wonder, wonder, wonder what I’m gonna do.
“Shoulda woulda coulda” are the last words of a fool.
(Rather too obviously) Shoulda Woulda Coulda by Beverley Knight