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  1. #11
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Using of the word 'would' will make difference?

    I once read in the Times Literary Supplement (perhaps the world's

    most scholarly book review) something to this effect:

    It is wrong to write "This would not be the first/last time." This implies

    that had [the writer] been there he could have predicted what was

    in the future. Use the simple past: This was not the ... .


    With all due respect to said publication, complete balderdash!

    There is a significant difference between a simple statement about a past event made using the preterite and one about an event yet to occur from a given past perspective. You might as well try to ban 'Burton was later to get a job...' - an equally good way of expressing the same meaning.

  2. #12
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Using of the word 'would' will make difference?

    Yes, fivejedjon is right, and "would" in this context is not wrong at all.
    It's used when you are narrating something in the past, and you want to make a temporary leap forward in your narrative; that is, while the event you want to narrate is now in the past, from the point of view of your story, it is in the future.

    "In January, 2005, Barack Obama began his first term as a Senator in Illinois. This was a proud moment for him. He could not have imagined then that in 2008 he would be elected President. His first Senate reforms were ... "
    So the narrative here begins when becomes a senator, looks forward to 2008, then goes back to his Senate years.

    If this were narrated in the present tense (the historical present), you'd have:
    "In January, 2005, Barack Obama begins his first term as a Senator in Illinois. This is a proud moment for him. He can't imagine that in 2008 he will be elected President. His first Senate reforms are ... "
    (See this link for better examples of the historical present)
    Historical present - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    http://grammar.about.com/od/fh/g/histpreterm.htm

    So, since "will be" is used in the present tense narrative for a future time, "would be" is used in a past tense narrative for a future time.

    Others might explain it a little differently. This isn't meant to be definitive.

  3. #13
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Using of the word 'would' will make difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
    Dear fivejedjon,


    "Later, Burton would land a job at Disney"---Would you please tell me more about what the author possibly trying to convey and what the message behind was?
    Hi Heidi

    I think Raymott has answered this question clearly now.

    By the way, I am happy to receive PMs (private messages) through the link you can find clicking on my name, but it is better not to make private requests on a public thread - you might miss the chance for other people to answer your questions.

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