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  1. #1
    nyugaton is offline Junior Member
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    Default The epistemic "would"

    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/112855-post8.html

    According to riverkid, the epistemic "should" is a bit weaker than "would."

    (1) He should win the first prize.
    (2) He would win the first prize.

    Which expresses with more strongly that "he" will win the first prize?

  2. #2
    whitemoon's Avatar
    whitemoon is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: The epistemic "would"

    He will win the first prize. ( Maybe it is sure.The speaker believes him.)
    He should win the first prize. ( It is "a thought".)
    He would win the frist prize. ( It is past time.)

    will/shall/would/should
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/le...arnitv43.shtml

  3. #3
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: The epistemic "would"

    Quote Originally Posted by whitemoon View Post
    He would win the frist prize. ( It is past time.)
    First things first. This is not necessarily a past time situation, WM. In fact, most of the time, these would be glossed/read/understood as a conditional future, as in,

    He would win first prize if he entered.





    Quote Originally Posted by nyugaton View Post
    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/112855-post8.html

    According to riverkid, the epistemic "should" is a bit weaker than "would."
    (1) He should win the first prize.
    (2) He would win the first prize.
    Which expresses with more strongly that "he" will win the first prize?


    will and would both equal 100% certainty. Because 'would' operates in a realm that ranges from more doubtful to counterfactual, it seems more tentative than 'will'.

    But it isn't. Upon the condition being met, it states the same degree of certainty, in a speaker's mind as does 'will'. When we use 'would' the entire concept/thought is dealt with in the uncertain to impossible realm. Even within this realm, we still need/have to have a way to state 100% certainty. 'would' fills that need just as 'will' does in the "certain to less certain" realm.

    If I were you I would be Nyugaton.

    This says that when the condition is met, there's 100% certainty I will be you.

    It's kind of hard to compare these two, Nyu, because they are slightly different. Number (1), using 'should' seems to be more in the realm of REALITY, while number (2), using 'would' is clearly a conditional.

    1. CONDITIONAL - GREATER DOUBT to COUNTERFACTUAL

    If he entered, he would win first prize.

    Here the speaker states it 100% certain he will win, if he enters, but the speaker has some doubts, expressed by "if + past tense FORM", that he will enter.

    If he entered, he should win first prize.

    [this 'should' is equal to a "probably/likely would"]

    Here the speaker is stating there's a 51 to roughly in the high 80s percent chance he WOULD win if he entered.

    2. CONDITIONAL - MORE REAL

    100% certainty in speaker's mind - If he enters, he will win first prize.

    51-8?% certainty in the speaker's mind - If he enters, he should win fIrst prize.

    [this 'should' is equal to a "probably/likely will"]


    [U]3. NO CONDITIONAL - REAL; [he has entered]

    100% certainty in speaker's mind - He will win first prize.

    9?-99% certainty in speakers's mind - He almost certaintly will win first prize.

    51-8?% certainty in speaker's mind - He should win first prize. [this 'should' is equal to a "probably/likely will"]

    26-50% certainty in speaker's mind - He may win first prize.

    1-25% certainty in speaker's mind - He might win first prize.


    This range, above, in number 3, works the same for all language. You can put 'may' and 'might' into number 2 and 1 too.
    Last edited by riverkid; 15-Sep-2006 at 03:14.

  4. #4
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: The epistemic "would"

    Where would you rank 'may well win'?

  5. #5
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: The epistemic "would"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Where would you rank 'may well win'?
    Hi Tdol.

    'may well' and 'might' well' both sit at the top of their respective ranges, so a 'might well' can be virtually identical to a tentative [intonationally] 'may. In other words, there is a blurring at the "break points".

    The numbers that I've used only represent a rough idea of the placement of these modals. It's hard to pin down exact cut off points and in speech and especially in writiing these modals usually only show a range, not a specificity.

    So too, 'very likely + verb' sits at the high range of the 'should/probably/likely' grouping.
    Last edited by riverkid; 15-Sep-2006 at 14:47.

  6. #6
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: The epistemic "would"

    Please Tdol and anyone else, don't accept what I say if you don't agree. Please don't hesitate to critique if you think it's warranted.

  7. #7
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: The epistemic "would"

    I go along with your groupings. 'Might well' is a tricky one as 'might' suggest a reduced possibility, so it seems somewhat contradictory, though we do use it.

  8. #8
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: The epistemic "would"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I go along with your groupings. 'Might well' is a tricky one as 'might' suggest a reduced possibility, so it seems somewhat contradictory, though we do use it.
    Good day, Tdol.

    I don't follow what you mean. A number of modals suggest a reduced possibility when compared to another/other modals.

  9. #9
    nyugaton is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: The epistemic "would"

    riverkid, I appreciate your help!

  10. #10
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: The epistemic "would"

    Quote Originally Posted by nyugaton View Post
    riverkid, I appreciate your help!
    My pleasure, Nyugaton. Where are you located in Japan?

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