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    #1

    would means can't? always true?

    Hi all,

    I have a question about the usage of "would."

    According to a text book that I have, "would" in the future tense means, in a way, "can't." Is this always correct? Like, if I say, "I'd stay a bit longer," that means, "I can't stay longer."

    My idea of "would" is a bit different. I understand the can't-usage. Like, if someone said, "yeah, I'd come to the party tomorrow if my ex-wife was not the host," I'd assume that he can't and won't come to the party.

    But I've been using "would" to express my guessing, too, for "I'm not sure but I guess I will." For instance, "I'd complete this project by this weekend,"and what I meant by it is, "I guess I can probably finish the project by this weekend." but never thought that I'm suggesting I can't complete it by this weekend," instead.

    Practically, is that largely depending on the contexts? Or "I would" always means "I can't"?

    Thanks for your help.
    M

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: would means can't? always true?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitsuwao23 View Post
    Hi all,

    I have a question about the usage of "would."

    According to a text book that I have, "would" in the future tense means, in a way, "can't." Is this always correct? Like, if I say, "I'd stay a bit longer," that means, "I can't stay longer."

    My idea of "would" is a bit different. I understand the can't-usage. Like, if someone said, "yeah, I'd come to the party tomorrow if my ex-wife was not the host," I'd assume that he can't and won't come to the party.

    But I've been using "would" to express my guessing, too, for "I'm not sure but I guess I will." For instance, "I'd complete this project by this weekend,"and what I meant by it is, "I guess I can probably finish the project by this weekend." but never thought that I'm suggesting I can't complete it by this weekend," instead.

    Practically, is that largely depending on the contexts? Or "I would" always means "I can't"?

    Thanks for your help.
    M
    No, "would" never means "can't". You might say "I would do that, but I haven't enough time" , for example, but "would" is expressing a willingness to do it if it were possible. The inability to do it has nothing at all to do with "would".


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    #3

    Re: would means can't? always true?

    Hi, thank you for the reply.

    So, if I say to someone only, "you'd receive the letter tomorrow," what is the most likely idea he will have?

    Does he expect the letter tomorrow?

    many many thx,
    M.

  2. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: would means can't? always true?

    ***Neither a teacher nor a native speaker.***

    Quote Originally Posted by mitsuwao23 View Post
    So, if I say to someone only, "you'd receive the letter tomorrow," what is the most likely idea he will have?

    Does he expect the letter tomorrow?
    I would never expect it to get the letter tomorrow.
    If you say, "You would receive the letter tomorrow.", it requires something additionally.
    You would receive the letter tomorrow if you want.
    Yes, I want.
    Okay, then you will receive it tomorrow.


    Anyway, I could be wrong here, so let's see.

    Cheers!

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