Results 1 to 3 of 3

    • Join Date: Jul 2010
    • Posts: 8
    #1

    what would you say?

    Dear moderators:

    I have a grammar question that I cannot solve, I hope you guys could really give me a correct answer. I often hear people say "would" is the past tense of "will" and they often give lots of example to support what they say. But to me, the modal verb "would" should be tenseless. And it is really confusing when I see lots of incomplete definitions of "would" out there to confuse people. From where I live, my folks here use "would" in the following cases.
    i) Since I have money and you have the car, I would buy you a meal if you drive me to McDonald.
    ii) You know Mike well, he can't save money! If he has money he would spend it on some junk that you and I would never dream of buying.
    iii) What would he do if he is given the chance to rule as Governor? He probably would fatten his own pocket by squeezing every bit of fat from every citizen in his province.

    All the above sentences indicate the verb "would" is tenseless and has the meaning of "is/am/are willing to", or "behavior of someone or something" in a given situation. But when you surf the net, those online English teachers probably would change the above sentences to 1st, 2nd and 3rd conditional sentences. Why can't those English teachers simply accept that there is one more definition of "would", which is tenseless and it's used to describe a person's behavior? Please correct me if I am wrong, and while at it, might as well correct the title of this article, "what would you say?"

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Ireland

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 25,624
    #2

    Re: what would you say?

    Quote Originally Posted by LittlePenguin View Post
    Dear moderators:

    I have a grammar question that I cannot solve, I hope you guys could really give me a correct answer. I often hear people say "would" is the past tense of "will" and they often give lots of example to support what they say. But to me, the modal verb "would" should be tenseless. And it is really confusing when I see lots of incomplete definitions of "would" out there to confuse people. From where I live, my folks here use "would" in the following cases.
    i) Since I have money and you have the car, I would buy you a meal if you drive me to McDonald.
    ii) You know Mike well, he can't save money! If he has money he would spend it on some junk that you and I would never dream of buying.
    iii) What would he do if he is given the chance to rule as Governor? He probably would fatten his own pocket by squeezing every bit of fat from every citizen in his province.

    All the above sentences indicate the verb "would" is tenseless and has the meaning of "is/am/are willing to", or "behavior of someone or something" in a given situation. But when you surf the net, those online English teachers probably would change the above sentences to 1st, 2nd and 3rd conditional sentences. Why can't those English teachers simply accept that there is one more definition of "would", which is tenseless and it's used to describe a person's behavior? Please correct me if I am wrong, and while at it, might as well correct the title of this article, "what would you say?"
    i) Since I have money and you have the car, I would buy you a meal if you drive me to McDonald.
    ii) You know Mike well, he can't save money! If he has money he would spend it on some junk that you and I would never dream of buying.
    iii) What would he do if he is given the chance to rule as Governor? He probably would fatten his own pocket by squeezing every bit of fat from every citizen in his province.
    They are all incorrect.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,843
    #3

    Re: what would you say?

    Quote Originally Posted by LittlePenguin View Post
    Dear moderators:

    I have a grammar question that I cannot solve, I hope you guys could really give me a correct answer. I often hear people say "would" is the past tense of "will" and they often give lots of example to support what they say. But to me, the modal verb "would" should be tenseless. And it is really confusing when I see lots of incomplete definitions of "would" out there to confuse people. From where I live, my folks here use "would" in the following cases.
    i) Since I have money and you have the car, I would buy you a meal if you drive me to McDonald.
    Since I have no money and you have the car, I'll buy you a meal if you drive me to McDonald's.


    ii) You know Mike well, he can't save money! If he has money he would spend it on some junk that you and I would never dream of buying.
    You know Mike well, he can't save money! If he had money, he would spend it on some junk that you and I would never dream of buying.

    iii) What would he do if he is given the chance to rule as Governor? He probably would fatten his own pocket by squeezing every bit of fat from every citizen in his province.
    What would he do if he were given the chance to rule as Governor? He would probably fatten his own pocket...

    All the above sentences indicate the verb "would" is tenseless and has the meaning of "is/am/are willing to", or "behavior of someone or something" in a given situation. But when you surf the net, those online English teachers probably would change the above sentences to 1st, 2nd and 3rd conditional sentences. Why can't those English teachers simply accept that there is one more definition of "would", which is tenseless and it's used to describe a person's behavior? Please correct me if I am wrong, and while at it, might as well correct the title of this article, "what would you say?"
    Interesting. I don't think I've ever really considered whether modals have tenses or not. "Would", to me, is a sort of mixture of present and future if talking about a one-off event. "What would you do if I hit you?" must be considered the future (conditional)!

    I agree with you that it can describe someone's behaviour: "When I was at school, I would bring the teacher an apple every day". That, I guess, is using it to describe behaviour in the past!

    The sentences you posted were interesting - I realise you're a native English speaker but just for the information of learners/readers, I have posted what would have been my corrections had you not been a native speaker!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •