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    • Join Date: Feb 2010
    • Posts: 7
    #1

    "would", "would have" or "will"?

    Hello!
    Could somebody please tell me what's the difference between these sentences?

    This was taken from magazine, so it's correct:
    "He found that matching nurse-patient ratios would have reduced surgical deaths in hospitals."
    1). "would have reduced surgical deaths" <- does this relate to the past?

    But what about this one?
    "He found that matching nurse-patient ratios would reduce surgical deaths in hospitals."
    2). "would reduce surgical deaths" <- does this relate to the present of future and mean "probably" reduce?

    "He found that matching nurse-patient ratios will reduce surgical deaths in hospitals."
    3.) "will reduce surgical deaths" <- does this relate to the future and mean "undoubtedly" reduce?

    I'd very appreciate any help. Thank you in advance.
    Best wishes
    Last edited by komp_user333; 27-Jul-2010 at 14:43.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "would" or "would have"?

    Quote Originally Posted by komp_user333 View Post
    Hello!
    Could somebody please tell me what's the difference between these sentences?

    This was taken from magazine, so it's correct:
    "He found that matching nurse-patient ratios would have reduced surgical deaths in hospitals."
    1). "would have reduced surgical deaths" <- does this relate to the past?

    But what about this one?
    "He found that matching nurse-patient ratios would reduce surgical deaths in hospitals."
    2). Is this sentence ok?
    3). "would reduce surgical deaths" <- does this relate to the present of future?

    I'd appreciate any help.
    Best wishes
    Yes, you're correct.

    The first sentence means that had the nurse-patient ratios been equal (at whatever point in the past the writer is talking about), then the number of surgical deaths in hospital would have been lower, at that time.

    The second sentence suggests that if the ratio were to be equal now or in the future, then the number of deaths would be lower, at the relevant time. I would say it's more likely to be read as meaning the future.

    If talking about the present, I would perhaps say "Matching nurse-patient ratios would result in there being fewer surgical deaths in hospitals". This could still refer to the future, but I think I would assume it referred to the present if I read it.

    If the sentence read "If the nurse-patient ratios match, there will be fewer deaths...." then it could only mean the future.


    • Join Date: Feb 2010
    • Posts: 7
    #3

    Re: "would" or "would have"?

    It's a bit tricky for me, because is seems like the place of action in time of the "He found that matching nurse-patient ratios..." depends on the structure of the following part of the sentence.
    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    The second sentence suggests that if the ratio were to be equal now or in the future, then the number of deaths would be lower, at the relevant time. I would say it's more likely to be read as meaning the future.
    Is this a kind of second conditional?
    410 Grammar: Second Conditional If yes, then it'd be clear to me, because I thought that "He found that matching nurse-patient ratios would reduce surgical deaths in hospitals." underlined part takes place in the past as in the 1) sentence.

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