# Thread: Will/Would for Predicting/Supposing Past Actions

1. ## Will/Would for Predicting/Supposing Past Actions

Hi. Would the use of will and would for predicting past actions be acceptable?

Matt found last night his dad's PowerPoint disk left on their kitchen counter. He was saying he would definitely deliver it to his dad the first thing in the morning today. So, he will have delivered it this morning, I suppose. If not, his dad would have been in big trouble, now.

Matt found last night his dad's PowerPoint disk left on their kitchen counter. He was saying he would deliver it to his dad the first thing in the morning today. Although it's been pouring down with rain, I guess he would have delivered it this morning. To tell you the truth, I have a qualm about that, though. Look at the driving rain!
I was just wondering if "will/would" could be used for supposting or predicting past actions with "this morning," "yesterday," or something like that, not "by this morning," "by yesterday" or something.

Thanks,

Hiro

2. ## Re: Will/Would for Predicting/Supposing Past Actions

I'm always uneasy when I see people trying to learn English 'by rules', and coming up with convoluted sentences seemingly to 'show' the rule, yet sound the most unnatural English.

Can we change your sentences into natural English, and see if the structure of the sentence still demonstrates the 'rule' you are asking about?

Matt found last night his dad's PowerPoint disk left on their kitchen counter. He was saying he would definitely deliver it to his dad the first thing in the morning today. So, he will have delivered it this morning, I suppose. If not, his dad would have been in big trouble, now.

Last night, Matt found his dad's PowerPoint disk left on their kitchen counter. He was saying he would definitely deliver it to his dad
first thing in the morning.
or
first thing this morning.
So, I suppose he will have. If not, his dad will/would have been in big trouble.

Last night, Matt found his dad's PowerPoint disk left on their kitchen counter. He was saying he would deliver it to his dad
first thing in the morning.
or
first thing this morning.
Even though it's been pouring down with rain, I guess he would have delivered it this morning. To tell you the truth, I'm not too sure about that though. Look at the driving rain!

Do these still show the verb forms you intend?

3. ## Re: Will/Would for Predicting/Supposing Past Actions

Yes, David. Your amended paragraphs do have "will/would have done" for predicting/supposing past actions. Do they sound okay?

Best,

Hiro

P.S.
If not, his dad would have been in big trouble, now.
I don't know why I put a comma after "trouble."

4. ## Re: Will/Would for Predicting/Supposing Past Actions

Do they sound okay?

That's why I rewrote them - so they do sound OK!

5. ## Re: Will/Would for Predicting/Supposing Past Actions

Will have + past participle can used when making an assumption about something being completed at the time of speaking: You can phone him now as he will have got home.
This form is used in BrE, but I believe that this is not used in American English; I remember some American speakers saying they regarded it as an error, though I'll wait for confirmation of this as the discussion was a long time ago and on another forum so I can't do a search. Also, given David's reply above, there might not be universal acceptance of the form in British English, though I don't feel that your sentence sounds unnatural.

Your final sentence doesn't work forso well for me. How about 'he would be in trouble now' . I suppose you could have 'he would have been in trouble by now', though I can't saythat I like it as a sentence.

6. ## Re: Will/Would for Predicting/Supposing Past Actions

Yes, David. Your amended paragraphs do have "will/would have done" for predicting/supposing past actions. Do they sound okay?

I was a bit behind you there: I thought you were asking whether the sentences, as amended, were OK for us to start discussing the verb forms - in particular, I especially wrote : If not, his dad will/would have been in big trouble.

...so that we could discuss both options.

So -where does that leave us?

7. ## Re: Will/Would for Predicting/Supposing Past Actions

Originally Posted by HSS
Matt found last night his dad's PowerPoint disk left on their kitchen counter. He was saying he would definitely deliver it to his dad the first thing in the morning today. So, he will have delivered it this morning, I suppose. If not, his dad would have been in big trouble, now.

Matt found last night his dad's PowerPoint disk left on their kitchen counter. He was saying he would deliver it to his dad the first thing in the morning today. Although it's been pouring down with rain, I guess he would have delivered it this morning. To tell you the truth, I have a qualm about that, though. Look at the driving rain!
Well, my initial query was about the red words --- I was wondering if "will/would have done" could be coupled with a past adverbial. I know by-phrases, such as "by yesterday" can be used, but I wondered if non-by-phrases could be used too.

But now that you brought up this sentence,
Originally Posted by David L.
If not, his dad will/would have been in big trouble.
I'm curious if you could say "will have done" after an if-clause. I thought the only options here were "would have been" and "would be" for this sentence. Can't you use "now" with "would have been ..."? You could say "Sean has been in the building for five hours now" or "Sean was out playing with his friends, but he has been back now." Why not "would have been ... now"?

Hiro

8. ## Re: Will/Would for Predicting/Supposing Past Actions

Originally Posted by Tdol
I remember some American speakers saying they regarded it as an error, though I'll wait for confirmation of this as the discussion was a long time ago and on another forum so I can't do a search.
I guess you are referring to this:
http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/ge...html#post33448
I hit that page by accident after you mentioned the above, googling around for the heck of it.

Originally Posted by Tdol
Also, given David's reply above, there might not be universal acceptance of the form in British English, though I don't feel that your sentence sounds unnatural.

Your final sentence doesn't work forso well for me. How about 'he would be in trouble now' . I suppose you could have 'he would have been in trouble by now', though I can't saythat I like it as a sentence.
My limited English ability didn't seem to allow me to fully understand what you discussed after about the halfway point.

Hiro

9. ## Re: Will/Would for Predicting/Supposing Past Actions

He would have been- suggests completion but the adverb 'now' doesn't- if you use 'by now' it matches the verb form better.

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