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  1. #1
    Mr. X is offline Junior Member
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    would instead of did not

    Hello,

    I am wondering whether would can be used in place of did not in past narrative.
    For example: They would admit neither X nor Y. He tried to make her understand, but she would not listen.

    In both cases, simple past can be used without would such as: they admitted neither x nor y or she did not listen. But I am wondering whether 'would' can be used in this way.

    Edit:

    Another question on would in past narrative: X was perhaps the event which would trigger world war. (is would here the same as 'was to'?).

    Mr. X
    Last edited by Mr. X; 15-Jul-2010 at 17:24.

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Re: would instead of did not

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. X View Post
    Hello,

    I am wondering whether would can be used in place of did not in past narrative.
    For example: They would admit neither X nor Y. He tried to make her understand, but she would not listen.

    In both cases, simple past can be used without would such as: they admitted neither x nor y or she did not listen. But I am wondering whether 'would' can be used in this way.

    Edit:

    Another question on would in past narrative: X was perhaps the event which would trigger world war. (is would here the same as 'was to'?).

    Mr. X
    Yes, all your examples are fine, "would" is used correctly. However, in this example it implies a refusal to listen that is not necessarily implied with "did not": "He tried to make her understand, but she would not listen".

  3. #3
    Mr. X is offline Junior Member
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    Re: would instead of did not

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Yes, all your examples are fine, "would" is used correctly. However, in this example it implies a refusal to listen that is not necessarily implied with "did not": "He tried to make her understand, but she would not listen".
    Thanks for pointing that out.

    What about the first example - would admit neither... does would here merely function as the past of will?

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Re: would instead of did not

    It's also a refusal.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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