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  1. #1
    Eartha is offline Member
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    Default theory suggests VS theory would suggest

    Dear all,

    How should I understand "would" underlined in the sentence below?

    If I were the writer, I would say "theory suggests" directly instead of adding the word "would".

    What does "would" implied here?

    Thanks in advance.

    Eartha

    Theory would suggest that profit margins will revert to the mean over time.
    If profits are very low then companies will go out of business, improving the competitive position and thus the margins of those businesses that survive. Similarly, if profits are high then more capital will be attracted into the industry and existing businesses will be tempted to expand and the resulting competition will cause margins to fall.

  2. #2
    Alamshar's Avatar
    Alamshar is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: theory suggests VS theory would suggest

    There is no difference in the two. The use of "would" introduces the indirect form common in English. Here's another example. I would have been 10 when I left England / I was 10 when I left England. They both have the same meaning.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: theory suggests VS theory would suggest

    Quote Originally Posted by Alamshar View Post
    There is no difference in the two. The use of "would" introduces the indirect form common in English. Here's another example. I would have been 10 when I left England / I was 10 when I left England. They both have the same meaning.
    They do not have exactly the same meaning. "I was 10 ..." is given as a fact. "I would have been 10 ..." has the idea of "The information (and/or memory) that I have suggest to me that I was 10". The certainty of the speaker actually being 10 at the time of leaving is not so great.

    Similarly, "Theory suggests ..." is factual. "Theory would suggest ..." is, as you say, more indirect, and it is therefore less certain.

    In practical terms, there is no significant difference, but I don't think we can say they have the same meaning.

    The difference is clearer in "Chomsky says .." and "Chomsky would say ...". In the second of these it may very well be that Chomsky has never said the words that follow. The speaker believes that Chomsky would say those words if he were to speak on the subject (based on the impression that the speaker has gained of Chomsky's thinking).
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


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