Why use, not used? and why so many verbs and auxiliary words?
Thanks for any help.

I think the author was going to use grammatical construction "was/were to do something", so it should be "was to use her insurance".

@Павел-Ермаков"The least she can do is…" is an idiom meaning "She must, at least…". In the past tense, "She had to, at least… " The verbs which follow are infinitives, just as they would be in Russian, that's why 'use' is not conjugated.

@dev_temp 'To' is only optional in this sentence. It has to do with 'could', being a modal verb. Whether it's officially correct, I don't know, but cf. the song "All I could do was cry". The construction in the link is something different. e.g. "She was to use…" means "She eventually used".

How is it translated into Russian, by the way?

@maksim всё что могла она сделать, это возместить ущерб по страховке

@maksim thanks, Maksim for the detailed answer! I realised that I need to learn idioms.


This is a rather complicated sentence, but Maksim has explained it very well!

@Павел-Ермаков said in grammar:

@maksim всё что могла она сделать, это возместить ущерб по страховке

Well that's a bad match for the English sentence. If I were to translate that back into English, I would say this has the opposite meaning: "The most" she could do was…" or "All she could do was…"

last edited by maksim

Thanks again for the sharp observation, Maksim! We're working on an update for that sentence.

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