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  1. #1
    Kotfor is offline Member
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    Default would - what kind of usage is it?

    This sentence says about an action which happened in the past.

    It would have to happen in my last term.

    I wonder whether it is the same usage of would here as in

    The door wouldn't open.

  2. #2
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: would - what kind of usage is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kotfor View Post
    This sentence says about an action which happened in the past.

    It would have to happen in my last term.

    I wonder whether it is the same usage of would here as in

    The door wouldn't open.
    It's not the same. Context would help explain the meaning of the sentence. Is there any context?

  3. #3
    Kotfor is offline Member
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    Default Re: would - what kind of usage is it?

    This sentences was uttered by a girl after she learnt that her father had remarried. This sentence stands by itself.
    PS It doesn't have the meaning of - USED TO -, does it?

  4. #4
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: would - what kind of usage is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kotfor View Post
    This sentences was uttered by a girl after she learnt that her father had remarried. This sentence stands by itself.
    PS It doesn't have the meaning of - USED TO -, does it?
    It doesn't, no.

    We have a girl then, and "it" is her father's marriage that happened in the past. She used "would" denoting unreal future. "Her last term", whatever it is, had not yet come, because if it had already passed, she would have said,

    It would have to have happened in my last term.

    (Or It would have had to happen in my last term, but let's not get into this -- this is not what we're discussing.)

    The marriage would not happen in her last term, which would come after the time of her utterance, because it had already happened before she said that.

    For example:

    (I will change "in my last term" to "tomorrow", because I don't know what the last term could be.)

    "Your father married Joan yesterday. Why weren't you there?"
    "It would have to happen tommorow. I was planning to visit Dad, but I had no idea he was going to marry her this year. If he'd told me, I'd be there now."

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: would - what kind of usage is it?

    I don't agree with you on this one, BC.

    'Would' here has the idea of 'This is the behaviour that I have come to expect of him'. It frequently shows disapproval or annoyance:

    I wanted to surprise Luke, but Emma would tell him about it before I had the chance.

    A: Fred said I couldn't go home early.
    B: Well, he would, wouldn't he!

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: would - what kind of usage is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I don't agree with you on this one, BC.

    'Would' here has the idea of 'This is the behaviour that I have come to expect of him'. It frequently shows disapproval or annoyance:

    I wanted to surprise Luke, but Emma would tell him about it before I had the chance.

    A: Fred said I couldn't go home early.
    B: Well, he would, wouldn't he!
    Are we talking about the same sentence, 5jj? I'm talking about this one:

    It would have to happen in my last term.

    In my opinion, "have to" makes your interpretation impossible.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: would - what kind of usage is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Are we talking about the same sentence, 5jj? We are

    It would have to happen in my last term.

    In my opinion, "have to" makes your interpretation impossible.
    Not impossible, though I admit that my 'This is the behaviour that I have come to expect of him' is more true of 'would' than would have to'. However, both can be used of past-time happenings:

    (This sentence was uttered by a girl after she learnt that her father had remarried).

    It would happen in my last term - that's the sort of thoughtless thing my father does - give me bad news just as I am preparing for my vital examinations.

    It would have to happen in my last term. - That's typical Sod's Law/ Murphy's law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - I hear bad news just as I am preparing for my vital examinations.

    Other shades of meaning are possible; my point is that to use 'would' (not 'would have') is perfectly acceptable in this reference to past time.

  8. #8
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: would - what kind of usage is it?

    I'm aware that "would" can be used to refer to the past, but I must admit I've never seen or heard

    It would have to happen...

    meaning

    It just had to happen... (expressing irritation)

    If you say it's possible, then I must accept it, but are you saying that my interpretation is incorrect too? I see no reason why it should be.

  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: would - what kind of usage is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    ... are you saying that my interpretation is incorrect too? I see no reason why it should be.
    Parts of it. I have copied your post below, with my comments in blue.


    We have a girl then, and "it" is her father's marriage that happened in the past. She used "would" denoting unreal future.
    As I have suggested, she used "would" with reference to the past.

    "Her last term", whatever it is, had not yet come, because if it had already passed, she would have said,

    It would have to have happened in my last term. [...]
    This is a possible utterance, but it has a different meaning from the one I proposed.


    The marriage would not happen in her last term, which would come after the time of her utterance, because it had already happened before she said that.
    But it did happen in her last term, the term in which is now studying.

    For example:

    (I will change "in my last term" to "tomorrow", because I don't know what the last term could be.)

    "Your father married Joan yesterday. Why weren't you there?"
    "It would have to happen tomorow. I was planning to visit Dad, but I had no idea he was going to marry her this year. If he'd told me, I'd be there now."
    I think that here the only natural response is: "It would have had to happen tomorrow". I know we normally associate this structure with a past counterfactual situation, but it is possible here. "It would have to happen tomorrow" allows the possibility, however remote, that it can happen tomorrow. We know it can't, because it has already happened.

    Your response would be natural here:
    "Your father is marrying Joan tomorrow morning. Are you going to be there?"
    "It would have to happen tomorrow afternoon. I have a hospital appointment in the morning."

    ps. Note to learners reading this - we are discussing fairly uncommon situations here. Please do not get the impression that "would (have)" is normally as complex as this.

  10. #10
    Kotfor is offline Member
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    Default Re: would - what kind of usage is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post

    It would have to happen...

    meaning

    It just had to happen... (expressing irritation)

    I
    Again I find similarity with

    The door woulsn't open.
    He wouldn't stop the car.


    The only stronghold which was backing me off is that I never heard it used in affirmative sentences. May be this is an example of this usage though?

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