# Thread: would for certainty or presumption?

1. ## would for certainty or presumption?

Maybe this "would" in this example means future certainty from the past, Is it correct?
ex)...McAfee, a company producing its own spam-filtering technology, said that spam filtering would save 135 terawatt-hours of electricity per year, which is equivalent to taking 13 million cars off the road...

But how do you tell future presumption from future certainty in the past like ex1 and ex2?
ex1) think she would come to the party =>(backshifted to the past) I thought she would come to the party.(presumption)
ex2)I think she will come to the party =>(backshifted to the past) I thought she would come to the party.(certainty)
Last edited by keannu; 15-Nov-2011 at 07:16.

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## Re: would for certainty or presumption?

How do you tell future presumption from future certainty in the past like ex1 and ex2?
ex1) think she would come to the party =>(backshifted to the past) I thought she would come to the party.(presumption)
ex2)I think she will come to the party =>(backshifted to the past) I thought she would come to the party.(certainty)

I think the key lies in the emphasis.

1. I thought she would come to the party. (but I was wrong- she didn't come)
2. I thought she would come to the party. (and I was right- she did come)

3. ## Re: would for certainty or presumption?

Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring
How do you tell future presumption from future certainty in the past like ex1 and ex2?
ex1) think she would come to the party =>(backshifted to the past) I thought she would come to the party.(presumption)
ex2)I think she will come to the party =>(backshifted to the past) I thought she would come to the party.(certainty)

I think the key lies in the emphasis.

1. I thought she would come to the party. (but I was wrong- she didn't come)
2. I thought she would come to the party. (and I was right- she did come)
Thanks! But which one is presumption or certainty? Both seem a certainty. My question was how to tell the two with the same word of "would", or it might be impossible to tell.
Sorry! A second thought tells me 1 is presumption, while 2 is certainty, right?

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## Re: would for certainty or presumption?

1. I thought she would come to the party. (but I was wrong- she didn't come)
2. I thought she would come to the party. (and I was right- she did come)

A second thought tells me 1 is presumption, while 2 is certainty, right?

This one is a little fuzzy because we are using the same sentence to say very different things.

Example 1 is talking about a presumption that I had in the past about what she would do in the (then) future. It could also be stated as: I thought she would come to the party.
Example 2 is about me being right when I guessed that she would come to the party. What is certain is that I was right in my thinking.

5. ## Re: would for certainty or presumption?

Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring
1. I thought she would come to the party. (but I was wrong- she didn't come)
2. I thought she would come to the party. (and I was right- she did come)

A second thought tells me 1 is presumption, while 2 is certainty, right?

This one is a little fuzzy because we are using the same sentence to say very different things.

Example 1 is talking about a presumption that I had in the past about what she would do in the (then) future. It could also be stated as: I thought she would come to the party.
Example 2 is about me being right when I guessed that she would come to the party. What is certain is that I was right in my thinking.
I'm sorry but I can't understand your explanation, maybe there's no distinction for the two.

6. ## Re: would for certainty or presumption?

Could we start again with the original post?

Please explain what "how do you tell future presumption from future certainty in the past" means.

What do the words "future certainty" mean? What, in your opinion, is an example of "future certainty?"

Perhaps if I understood what you mean, I could help you. However, I am very confused.

John

7. ## Re: would for certainty or presumption?

I'm also confused because the OP's Sentence 1 said "I think she would come to the party". We wouldn't use that construction.

8. ## Re: would for certainty or presumption?

Originally Posted by emsr2d2
I'm also confused because the OP's Sentence 1 said "I think she would come to the party". We wouldn't use that construction.
Really? I was curious about how to convert remote possibility vs real possibility from the present tense to the past tense. Maybe I have to change it a little bit like this.
ex1) I say "she would come to the party"(present)=> I said she would come to the party.(past)
ex2) I say "she will come to the party" (present)=> I said she would come to the party.(past)

When you find "would" in reported speech of the past, how can you tell if it is a presumption(remote possibility) or real possibility(certainty)?

9. ## Re: would for certainty or presumption?

keannu, I have dealt with this in other threads. You are asking the same question again, in a slightly different form.

As I said more than once in the other threads, when we have conditional sentences in reported speech it is not always possible to say exactly what the original words were. Context and additional words may help, if a careful speaker/writer is at work, but sometimes we just do not know. No amount of questioning or explaining is going to change this.

This not uncommonly happens in language. Let's take a different example. If we hear/see the words "I am driving to work" out of context, we have no idea whether the driving (1) is taking place at the moment the words were uttered, (2) is taking place on several occasions during a limited period of time (though not actually at the moment of speaking), (3) is taking place both at the moment the words were uttered and on several other occasions during a limited period of time, or (4) has been arranged for a future time.

10. ## Re: would for certainty or presumption?

Originally Posted by 5jj
keannu, I have dealt with this in other threads. You are asking the same question again, in a slightly different form.

As I said more than once in the other threads, when we have conditional sentences in reported speech it is not always possible to say exactly what the original words were. Context and additional words may help, if a careful speaker/writer is at work, but sometimes we just do not know. No amount of questioning or explaining is going to change this.

This not uncommonly happens in language. Let's take a different example. If we hear/see the words "I am driving to work" out of context, we have no idea whether the driving (1) is taking place at the moment the words were uttered, (2) is taking place on several occasions during a limited period of time (though not actually at the moment of speaking), (3) is taking place both at the moment the words were uttered and on several other occasions during a limited period of time, or (4) has been arranged for a future time.
All I can say is ! Why couldn't I recall it? I thought this is a lightly different case, but it is no different from my other threads. I'll try not to ask similar questions. Thanks a lot, master!

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