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  1. #1
    gauri_agr is offline Member
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    Please explain the grammar

    I am reading novel and come across the following sentence


    he would be reading a book the moment he died

    Its about a person who is fond of books so I understand the sense but not the grammar. Is it like if clause as


    he would be reading a book if he died?

    Thanks
    Gauri

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Please explain the grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by gauri_agr View Post
    I am reading novel and come across the following sentence


    he would be reading a book the moment he died

    Its about a person who is fond of books so I understand the sense but not the grammar. Is it like if clause as


    he would be reading a book if he died?

    Thanks
    Gauri
    It's a common construction in biographies. It's used when you are looking forward from a time in the past. Someone is telling his story, but hasn't come to his death yet. But they want to say something about it now.
    For example:
    "On his arrival at university, he discovered the pleasures of reading. In fact, he would be reading a book the moment he died."
    You know he was reading a book when he died, but from the viewpoint of the story, it's in the future.
    ENGLISH PAGE - Future in the Past

    In a biography of Obama, for example, you might read, "He was patriotic even as a little boy. But no one could foresee that he would be running for President in 2007"

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