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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone WOULD find a stranger

    Hello,

    I'm trying to understand the meaning of the word "would" in my sentence.

    Here is my sentence:
    But I was dammed, too, if Id put up balloon shades, or lace curtains, or those narrow venetian blinds. One of the things I loved about having my own place was the spill of white light across the scratched wooden floors each morning, the wave of mellow light that snuck slowly across the futon on my bedroom in late afternoon and early evening, the moon rising outside my window.

    The light and sun and stars belonged to me in that place where anyone, looking in the window, WOULD find a stranger, an un-known.
    What does the word "would" mean here?
    I ask that because I would like to know how I can say the same sentence in the present tense without altering the meaning.

    ( A ) The light and sun and stars BELONG to me in that place where anyone, looking in the window, WOULD find a stranger, an un-known.
    ( B ) The light and sun and stars BELONG to me in that place where anyone, looking in the window, WILL find a stranger, an un-known.
    ( C ) The light and sun and stars BELONG to me in that place where anyone, looking in the window, CAN find a stranger, an un-known.

    Thank you very much,
    SmilingTeapot

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Anyone WOULD find a stranger

    . . . they would (definitely, probably) find a stranger.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Anyone WOULD find a stranger

    Hello Casiopea,

    Thank so much for your answer.


    I tried to change this past tense sentence to the present tense. How can I do it by keeping the meaning of the word "would?"
    The light and sun and stars belonged to me in that place where anyone, looking in the window, WOULD find a stranger, an un-known.
    Which among the three following sentences is the best version of it in the present tense?
    ( A ) The light and sun and stars BELONG to me in that place where anyone, looking in the window, WOULD find a stranger, an un-known.
    ( B ) The light and sun and stars BELONG to me in that place where anyone, looking in the window, WILL find a stranger, an un-known.
    ( C ) The light and sun and stars BELONG to me in that place where anyone, looking in the window, CAN find a stranger, an un-known.

    Thank you very much,

    SmilingTeapot
    Last edited by SmilingTeapot; 17-Jul-2005 at 18:49.

  4. #4
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Anyone WOULD find a stranger

    Keep the main verb belong in the present tense, and the sentence will be in the present tense. The modal auxilliary would means is likely to... (find a stranger). It has nothing to do with the tense of the sentence.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Anyone WOULD find a stranger

    Thank you very much, mykwyner.

    SmilingTeapot

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Anyone WOULD find a stranger

    Dear helpers,

    Here is a synopsis of the answers for this question:

    Original sentence which is in the past tense:
    The light and sun and stars BELONGED to me in that place where anyone, looking in the window, WOULD find a stranger, an un-known.
    Meaning of the word would in the sentence:
    they would (definitely, probably) find a stranger.
    The modal auxiliary would means is likely to.
    Suggestion of the sentence put into the present tense:
    The light and sun and stars BELONG to me in that place where anyone, looking in the window, WOULD find a stranger, an un-known.
    I don't know when I need to modify the modal "would" to change a past tense sentence into the present tense. In the previous sentence, the modal "would" stayed. In the following example, "would" becomes "will."

    I knew that he would be in time. << past tense
    I know that he will be in time. << present tense
    What do I need to look to know whether or not I need to change the modal?

    Thanks in advance,

    SmilingTeapot
    Last edited by SmilingTeapot; 19-Jul-2005 at 04:08.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Anyone WOULD find a stranger

    Take a look at the tense of the main verbs 'knew' and 'know':

    I knew that he would . . . . (past 'knew' + past 'would')
    I know that he will . . . . (non-past 'know' + non-past 'will')

    Does that help?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Anyone WOULD find a stranger

    Hello,
    I knew that he would . . . . (past 'knew' + past 'would')
    I know that he will . . . . (non-past 'know' + non-past 'will')
    In the precedent case, "would" became "will."

    The light and sun and stars BELONGED to me in that place where anyone, looking in the window, WOULD find a stranger, an un-known.
    Now, what should I do for this precedent case? "Belonged" will become "belong." I understand that. But "would" will stay "would."

    mykwyner:
    Keep the main verb belong in the present tense, and the sentence will be in the present tense. The modal auxilliary would means is likely to... (find a stranger). It has nothing to do with the tense of the sentence.
    I don't know when I need to modify the modal "would" to change a past tense sentence into the present tense. What is the difference between my two examples that one changed "would" to "will", and the other not?

    Thank you in advance for reading me,

    SmilingTeapot
    Last edited by SmilingTeapot; 19-Jul-2005 at 16:50.

  9. #9
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Anyone WOULD find a stranger

    Change would to will in order to express certainty.

    However, when the main verb and the modal are close together, and the main verb expresses certainty, it can sound awkward for the modal to express uncertainty.

    I know that he will (not would) get angry. (He hasn't gotten angry yet).

    To put the above sentence in the conditional mood, I'd say: I Know that he could get angry. or: I know that he may (or might) get angry.

    You can say "I think that he would get angry"
    or "I think that he will get angry" Both of these sentences are in the present tense (think), but they express different levels of certainty.

    Look at these sentences:

    "What do you think your husband would do if he finds us?"
    "He would kill us."



    Is this confusing? You bet it is!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Anyone WOULD find a stranger

    Hello mykwyner,Casiopea.

    Confusing?
    At least, there is one case solved.

    Many thanks,

    SmilingTeapot

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