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    #1

    past and future

    Hi,

    I read both 'that will explain' and 'that would explain' used in present tense (like when one person is conversing with another). Which is right? For instance: He must have lied. That'll explain his actions.

    Is will okay here because the act of lying has taken place in the past, whereas 'will' implies the future?

    Mr. X

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: past and future

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. X View Post
    Hi,

    I read both 'that will explain' and 'that would explain' used in present tense (like when one person is conversing with another). Which is right? For instance: He must have lied. That'll explain his actions.

    Is will okay here because the act of lying has taken place in the past, whereas 'will' implies the future?

    Mr. X
    I would say "He must have lied. That would explain his actions". The fact that he has already lied and presumably has already taken the "actions" mentioned, then using the future tense doesn't really make any sense. The explanation for his actions is already relevant now so it's sort of in the present.

    To use the future, I could only really imagine something like:

    He acted very strangely the other day. He must have been lying. When I ask him to explain his actions, maybe that will be his explanation - "I lied. That's why I behaved like I did". (The lying and the actions are in past but no-one has yet asked for an explanation. When I do ask him, in the future, perhaps that will be the explanation.)

    OR

    He is going to lie and act very strangely. If anyone asks, the fact that he was lying will explain his actions. (Here, the whole thing takes place in the future.)

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: past and future

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. X View Post
    Hi,

    I read both 'that will explain' and 'that would explain' used in present tense (like when one person is conversing with another). Which is right? For instance: He must have lied. That'll explain his actions.

    Is will okay here because the act of lying has taken place in the past, whereas 'will' implies the future?

    Mr. X
    You can use either.
    It's irrelevant when the event happened. What is in the present/future is the explaining, not the happening.

    A: My mother told me yesterday that, when I was a baby, I was dropped on my head.
    B: Ah, that will/would explain your replies to the English forum.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: past and future

    Raymott and I must have been posting at the same time, but I notice we don't entirely agree!!

    I like his example, though!

    I would like to add another possible answer for his B, which would simply be "Ah, that explains your replies...."

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    #5

    Re: past and future

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I would say "He must have lied. That would explain his actions". The fact that he has already lied and presumably has already taken the "actions" mentioned,
    Suppose in our example sentence, we replace the word actions with attitude ... then would 'will' be okay? Since attitude is something you may still have in the present while the conversation is taking place...

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: past and future

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    "Ah, that explains your replies...."
    Yes, that would be the most common way of saying it.

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