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    #1

    I don't suppose he would have...

    --I don't suppose he would have done well in the midterm exam last week, ______?

    --_______, he almost failed in the exam.

    A. had he...Yes B. did he...No C. do I...Yes D. could he...No

    This is a test item set by a Chinese teacher of English. The given answer is B. My questions are:

    1. Does the dialogue make sense? To me, the first speaker means 'I don't suppose he would have done well in the midterm exam last week even if he had worked hard enough/harder before the exam'. Am I right?
    2. 'He almost failed the exam' means 'He only narrowly passed the exam'. Is that so?
    3. Do you native speakers ever use a tag question after the 'would have done' structure, and if so, what tag do you use?

    Could I ask native speakers to help me please? Thank you in advance.

  1. Monticello's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I don't suppose he would have...

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    --I don't suppose he would have done well in the midterm exam last week, ______?

    --_______, he almost failed in the exam.

    A. had he...Yes B. did he...No C. do I...Yes D. could he...No

    This is a test item set by a Chinese teacher of English. The given answer is B. My questions are:

    1. Does the dialogue make sense? To me, the first speaker means 'I don't suppose he would have done well in the midterm exam last week even if he had worked hard enough/harder before the exam'. Am I right?
    2. 'He almost failed the exam' means 'He only narrowly passed the exam'. Is that so?
    3. Do you native speakers ever use a tag question after the 'would have done' structure, and if so, what tag do you use?

    Could I ask native speakers to help me please? Thank you in advance.
    Hi joham,

    Comments follow:

    1. Does the dialogue make sense? Yes, "B. Did he...No" is the only answer that works. To me, the first speaker means 'I don't suppose he would have done well in the midterm exam last week even if he had worked hard enough/harder before the exam'. Am I right? More to the point, the speaker, by the statement, appears to acknowledge a history of past performance(s) -- regardless of any particular effort for this exam -- and assumes a likewise outcome.
    2. 'He almost failed the exam' means 'He only narrowly passed the exam'. Is that so? Yes.
    3. Do you native speakers ever use a tag question after the 'would have done' structure, and if so, what tag do you use? The tag question, "Did he?" would be typical for native speakers. Here the speaker is postulating an outcome based upon past performance. The tag question, "Did he?" simply asks for confirmation of what has been postulated (which, given exceptional and unexpected circumstances, might not be correct).

    • Member Info
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    #3

    Re: I don't suppose he would have...

    Quote Originally Posted by Monticello View Post
    Hi joham,

    Comments follow:

    1. Does the dialogue make sense? Yes, "B. Did he...No" is the only answer that works. To me, the first speaker means 'I don't suppose he would have done well in the midterm exam last week even if he had worked hard enough/harder before the exam'. Am I right? More to the point, the speaker, by the statement, appears to acknowledge a history of past performance(s) -- regardless of any particular effort for this exam -- and assumes a likewise outcome.
    2. 'He almost failed the exam' means 'He only narrowly passed the exam'. Is that so? Yes.
    3. Do you native speakers ever use a tag question after the 'would have done' structure, and if so, what tag do you use? The tag question, "Did he?" would be typical for native speakers. Here the speaker is postulating an outcome based upon past performance. The tag question, "Did he?" simply asks for confirmation of what has been postulated (which, given exceptional and unexpected circumstances, might not be correct).
    Thank you very much, Monticello. I'm also curious about what tag question British speakers would use after 'would have done'.

    I searched the BNC and AMC and found after 'must have done', British speakers usually use 'mustn't...?' and American speakers never use 'mustn't...?' but 'didn't/hasn't/haven't ...?'. Thus came my question above.

    Thank you again.

  2. Monticello's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: I don't suppose he would have...

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Thank you very much, Monticello. I'm also curious about what tag question British speakers would use after 'would have done'.

    I searched the BNC and AMC and found after 'must have done', British speakers usually use 'mustn't...?' and American speakers never use 'mustn't...?' but 'didn't/hasn't/haven't ...?'. Thus came my question above.

    Thank you again.
    Hi joham,

    You're right. Americans would rarely use "mustn't ...", though one does hear it on occasion. As for British usage here, I cannot say.

    Recall, however, that the original sentence reads: "I don't suppose he would have done well ..." (and not "... must have done well ..."). Here, the verb phrase, "... would have done ..." signals the conditional perfect -- something that has already taken place and is subject to speculation (supposition). Thus the tag, "Did he?" and not "Must he?" or "Must'nt he?" to ask for confirmation.

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