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  1. #1
    keannu's Avatar
    keannu is offline Key Member
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    Default would only deal with

    This "would" is translated as "past will", but I doubt if it's a habitual action in the past. This looks dubious. What do you think?

    330-93
    ex)In the sixteenth century, Portuguese missionaries tried for years to convert the people of Japan to Catholicism, while at the same time Portugal had a monopoly on trade between Japan and Europe.., When the Dutch began to arrive in Japan in great numbers, Ieyasu was much relieved. He needed Europeans for their know-how in guns and navigation, and here at last were Europeans who cared nothing for spreading religion - the Dutch wanted only to trade. Ieyasu swiftly drove out Portuguese. From then on, he would only deal with the practical-minded Dutch.

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: would only deal with

    Why do you doubt it's a habitual action in the past?

    "Would" doesn't have to be a habitual action in the past though. Take a look at this:

    My brother had just been appointed Secretary of Nevada Territory--an office of such majesty that it concentrated in itself the duties and dignities of Treasurer, Comptroller, Secretary of State, and Acting Governor in the Governor's absence. . . . He was going to travel! . . . Pretty soon he would be hundreds and hundreds of miles away on the great plains and deserts, and among the mountains of the Far West, and would see buffaloes . . . And he would see the gold mines and the silver mines . . . And by-and-bye he would become very rich . . .
    (From Roughing It by Mark Twain)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: would only deal with

    What if the writer intended a habitual action? Would he have said "used to"?

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: would only deal with

    But I still don't understand why you doubt it's a habitual action. I think he dealt with the Dutch habitually.

    I don't think "used to" can be used here. When you use "used to" you stress the fact that the action isn't performed anymore. Of course he doesn't deal with the Dutch anymore because he's been dead for a couple of centuries. Stressing it with "used to" seems very strange to me.

    I also wanted to say that we would never use "used to" after "from then on", but I'm not sure that's true.

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