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  1. #1
    keannu's Avatar
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    would as "intentional" or "unintentional"?

    In many conditional sentences, it's tricky for me to tell if "would" means intentional or unintenional.
    • If he lost his job he would have no money.
    In this case, he would have no money surely mean, he will fall into poverty evidently without his willingness or intention. But I think if the sentence is like "If he lost his job, he would look for a new job"
    then, the would here probably means he will intend to find a job.
    • If I had won the lottery, I would have bought a car.
    In this case,does "would" mean "tried to buy a car" with willingness or merely "I came to buy a car" without much willingness?

    A kind answer would be highly appreciated.

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    Re: would as "intentional" or "unintentional"?

    'If he lost his job he would have no money' is a simple statement of fact - no work, no pay. What he may or may not do is unknown, there is no hidden inference.

    'If I had won the lottery, I would have bought a car' is a statement of intent. Given money I will buy a car, but in this case we know that he did not get money and could not buy a car, so he is just reflecting on what might have been.

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    keannu's Avatar
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    Re: would as "intentional" or "unintentional"?

    Thank you, but when do we have to interpret would as intentional or not intentional?
    The following could be confusing.

    "If I met you in the past, we would have become friends"
    (actually I came to know you not in the past, I really regret I didn't meet you before, maybe this example is wrong, they might say we could have...)

    Is it "we could have tried to become friends"(willingness) or "we could come to be friends"?(without willingness)

  4. #4
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    Re: would as "intentional" or "unintentional"?

    You cannot be sure that you would have become friends. That is an assumption and there use could instead of would. Yes you may feel sure about your feelings but you cannot be sure about the other party at some past time. You could, of course, gain confirmation from the other party but that is not revealed.
    You understand it well in your final sentence.

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