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  1. #1
    guzhao67 is offline Junior Member
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    Smile simple past tense indicating future time

    Hi there:
    could you please give me an example of the usage of the simple past tense indicating future time in English? I've got two but am not sure which one is correct or neither.
    1 he said he would leave for tomorrow.
    2 he would leave for tomorrow.
    is there any difference between the two woulds in question in relation to time reference?
    could you give me one more exmaple?
    thank you

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: simple past tense indicating future time

    Quote Originally Posted by guzhao67 View Post
    Hi there:
    could you please give me an example of the usage of the simple past tense indicating future time in English? I've got two but am not sure which one is correct or neither.
    1 he said he would leave for tomorrow.
    2 he would leave for tomorrow.
    is there any difference between the two woulds in question in relation to time reference?
    could you give me one more exmaple?
    thank you
    Both are incorrect. Are you trying to say that he is leaving tomorrow?

  3. #3
    kfredson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: simple past tense indicating future time

    Quote Originally Posted by guzhao67 View Post
    Hi there:
    could you please give me an example of the usage of the simple past tense indicating future time in English? I've got two but am not sure which one is correct or neither.
    1 he said he would leave for tomorrow.
    2 he would leave for tomorrow.
    is there any difference between the two woulds in question in relation to time reference?
    could you give me one more exmaple?
    thank you
    We wouldn't use "for" here unless we were speaking very poetically! So I assume you mean to say the following:
    1 He said he would leave tomorrow.
    2 He would leave tomorrow.

    Let's begin with the second sentence. Here "would" is not the same as "will." In fact, the sentence is ambiguous and is not something you would ordinarily hear. It needs something to tell us whether it is a case of the conditional ("If we gave him the money he would leave tomorrow") or something else (as in the first sentence.)

    The first sentence, as well, implies to me a certain ambiguity. If you say, "He said he will leave tomorrow," you are clearly saying that his action is in the future. "He said he would leave tomorrow," on the other hand, suggests to me that he may or may not be going on that day or at all. Ordinarily you would use "would" to imply less certainty.

    Having said that, you could probably use "would" here and people would understand it as simple future, as you suggest.

    It is a subtle thing. Perhaps others can explain it better.

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: simple past tense indicating future time

    Quote Originally Posted by guzhao67 View Post
    Hi there:
    could you please give me an example of the usage of the simple past tense indicating future time in English? I've got two but am not sure which one is correct or neither.
    1 he said he would leave for tomorrow.
    2 he would leave for tomorrow.
    is there any difference between the two woulds in question in relation to time reference?
    could you give me one more exmaple?
    thank you
    I'm not sure whether using "would" is the right way to answer to this question. You've chosen it for it's dubious status as the simple past of 'will'.
    How about:
    If he went to Sydney tomorrow, I'd be all alone.
    If he left in the morning, he'd be there for dinner.

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