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Modal 'would'

You have words - now what do you do with them?

Postby Enigma » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:21 pm

saparris wrote:
Do you agree? It just seems too random for it to be expressing a past habit...


If that were the intent, the author would (or should) have written it in a different way, even if it were simply by the addition of "often."


Yea, I'd agree. Often 'would' is avoided when discussing past habits, and instead, the simple past is used with an adverb like 'always' or 'often.'

By the way, should'nt it be 'if that had been the intent,' Sap? (Or perhaps this is yet another exception to the standard forumlae, since the intent is still present)
Last edited by Enigma on Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite. ~Thomas Carlyle
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Postby saparris » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:25 pm

He wanted a divorce but his wife would not agree.
Past, indicating determination (from Audiendus's list) or to talk about past refusals from the web site you posted.

Yesterday morning, the car wouldn't start.
Again, the same. The car refused to start (or determined not to start).
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Postby Enigma » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:30 pm

http://www.englishpage.com/modals/would.html

This site has only three uses for would:

1. Would" is most commonly used to create conditional verb forms.
2. It also serves as the past form of the modal verb "will."
3. Additionally, "would" can indicate repetition in the past.


I don't think the sentences I just provided could fit into 2, and obviously not 1 or 3.
What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite. ~Thomas Carlyle
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Postby saparris » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:58 pm

Would that we could all come to terms with would and move on to something else.
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