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  1. peteryoung's Avatar

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    #1

    Why would Ms. Rice say 'would'?

    Condoleezza Rice has said in a statement during congressional hearing:

    I am asking that all our friends around the world reject incitement to violence by those who would mis-characterize our intention

    Is 'would' here indicating past behavior? Not very likely. Then why would she use that? Can it be replaced by 'want' or 'like to' without a lost in meaning?
    Thx!

  2. atoom's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: Why would Ms. Rice say 'would'?

    good question, to our chinese, the true meanings of sentences with these modal verbs such as could, would, should are a little bit difficult to comprehend.

    thanks for teacher's explaination
    Last edited by atoom; 13-May-2005 at 11:50.

  3. Steven D's Avatar

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    #3

    Re: Why would Ms. Rice say 'would'?

    Quote Originally Posted by peteryoung
    Condoleezza Rice has said in a statement during congressional hearing:

    I am asking that all our friends around the world reject incitement to violence by those who would mis-characterize our intention

    Is 'would' here indicating past behavior? Not very likely. Then why would she use that? Can it be replaced by 'want' or 'like to' without a lost in meaning?
    Thx!
    Yes, it's possible to replace "would" with "want" in that sentence. It's also possible to simply leave "would" out of the sentence and just use the verb "mischaracterize". Ms. Rice uses "would" because it sounds more speculative than not using it. Using "would" makes the statement more indirect. It's a more cautious statement. Not using "would" more readily calls to mind the question, "Who mischaracterizes your intentions? Tell us please." Using "would" can call to mind that question as well. However, a statement such as this that uses "would" can be regarded as more cautious.

    Does that help you understand it better?

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    #4

    Re: Why would Ms. Rice say 'would'?

    It is more speculative and makes it appear that they have not succeeded in the mischaracterisation (in her opinion).

  4. Steven D's Avatar

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    #5

    Re: Why would Ms. Rice say 'would'?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    It is more speculative and makes it appear that they have not succeeded in the mischaracterisation (in her opinion).

    I agree with that. However, would you also say that she uses "would" to sound more reserved? In sounding more reserved, she might sound more polite. Would you say? Also, in this way, she might not sound as offensive to the ones who are, in her opinion, actually doing the mischaracterizing. Those people probably don't agree with her, and they probably can recognize that Ms. Rice is talking about them. So, that's why I think "would" is could possibly be used to for politeness. Still, I fully agree with your comment. I just think it can be looked at from more than one angle.


    Last edited by Steven D; 14-May-2005 at 05:56.

  5. Steven D's Avatar

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    #6

    Re: Why would Ms. Rice say 'would'?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    It is more speculative and makes it appear that they have not succeeded in the mischaracterisation (in her opinion).
    Yes, they would, but they won't. They're not going to.

    1. They can't because it's not possible. They'll fail if they try. They have already failed - in her opinion.

    2. In their minds, it wouldn't be a mischaracterization. So, they would mischaracterize the intentions, but they're won't because they don't see their statements as a mischaracterization of the intentions. They think their statements tell the truth. So - in their minds - how could their statements mischaracterize the intentions?

    What do you think? Unlikely in this case, but a possible reason to use "would".

    to them - You will/do try to mischaracterize....... You would/might try to mischaracterize.........
    Last edited by Steven D; 14-May-2005 at 00:13.

  6. peteryoung's Avatar

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    #7

    Re: Why would Ms. Rice say 'would'?

    Thank you both. It's very, very informative.
    Last night, however, I came upon a dictionary difinition of would which
    seems a bit tempting but I'm totally unsure, especially after reading your discussion. It is copied from Macmillan English Dictionary

    Would
    used for criticizing someone's behavior SPOKEN
    used when criticizing someone by saying that a particular action is typical of someone:
    "Sylvia said it was your fault." "Well, Sylvia would say that, wouldn't she"


    I would have thought Ms. Rice is criticizing those people's behavior. But now I see she's actually being polite and cautious. But is there some clue to help tell criticism from politeness which both use 'would' as the conveyor? I'm exceedingly appreciative.

  7. Steven D's Avatar

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    #8

    Re: Why would Ms. Rice say 'would'?

    Quote Originally Posted by peteryoung
    Thank you both. It's very, very informative.
    Last night, however, I came upon a dictionary difinition of would which
    seems a bit tempting but I'm totally unsure, especially after reading your discussion. It is copied from Macmillan English Dictionary

    Would
    used for criticizing someone's behavior SPOKEN
    used when criticizing someone by saying that a particular action is typical of someone:
    "Sylvia said it was your fault." "Well, Sylvia would say that, wouldn't she"


    I would have thought Ms. Rice is criticizing those people's behavior. But now I see she's actually being polite and cautious. But is there some clue to help tell criticism from politeness which both use 'would' as the conveyor? I'm exceedingly appreciative.
    Ms. Rice is being critical. She is displeased that anyone could possibly mischaracterize "our intentions". There could be an element of politeness involved in such a statement as well. Also, I agree with what TDOL said.



    Would
    used for criticizing someone's behavior SPOKEN
    used when criticizing someone by saying that a particular action is typical of someone:
    "Sylvia said it was your fault." "Well, Sylvia would say that, wouldn't she"

    The speaker might simply understand that this is how Sylvia feels, and, therefore, says that this is what she would say. Or the speaker might know Sylvia and thinks he knows what she would say. Using "would" in this case doesn't necessarily mean that the speaker is criticizing, though it could mean that. I think this explanation is somewhat of a simplification and a generalization. The meaning has much to do with the context and the attitude of the speaker. But these two sentences are isolated. There's no context.

  8. Marylin's Avatar

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    #9

    Re: Why would Ms. Rice say 'would'?

    I think you are right but it all depends on context. I don't think Condy is criticising anyone. In politics of that magnitude she needs to be extremely careful. Especially after all the recent outpouring of criticism towards Bush. She is just being very careful with words and in this case "would" sets the mood for what she wants to say. There are other "mood setters" known as auxiliary verbs and these are: ought to, might, may and should.
    In this particular sentence:


    those who would mis-characterize our intention


    the word "would" means that mis-characterization is possible but it would be contrary to US intentions in politics.


  9. Steven D's Avatar

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    #10

    Re: Why would Ms. Rice say 'would'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marylin
    I think you are right but it all depends on context. I don't think Condy is criticising anyone. In politics of that magnitude she needs to be extremely careful. Especially after all the recent outpouring of criticism towards Bush. She is just being very careful with words and in this case "would" sets the mood for what she wants to say. There are other "mood setters" known as auxiliary verbs and these are: ought to, might, may and should.
    In this particular sentence:


    those who would mis-characterize our intention

    the word "would" means that mis-characterization is possible but it would be contrary to US intentions in politics.


    I agree. I agree with with what Tdol said after my first post here as well. There's an element of politeness involved. Ms. Rice certainly has to be careful with her words. It's better to sound speculative than too sure given the context in which she is speaking.

    It all depends on context, yes. I think the tone of one's voice has something to do with the actual meaning of "would" in this case as well.

    politics of this magnitude - That's a good way of putting it.

    Last edited by Steven D; 14-May-2005 at 12:06. Reason: I wrote in a word I left out - typo.

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