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    #1

    would and could

    Dear teachers,

    Many problems________ have been overcome---or_______never have arisen---if the people involved had just treated one another with common courtesy.
    a. would, should b. should, would

    c . might could d. could, might

    The key is "d". Could you please kindly explain why the other three are not correct?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

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    #2

    Re: would and could

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Many problems________ have been overcome---or_______never have arisen---if the people involved had just treated one another with common courtesy.
    a. would, should b. should, would

    c . might could d. could, might

    The key is "d". Could you please kindly explain why the other three are not correct?
    I can't.

    The reason for my apparently unhelpful answer is that, depending on what was in the speaker's mind at the moment of making that utterance, most of the modals you have given could be used in either position.

    Some grammar books try to pin precise meanings on would have, might have, could have and should have, but this is a very grey area.

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    #3

    Re: would and could

    Dear fivejedjon,

    Thank you very much for your help.

    According to my grammar book:
    1. In subjuctive mood "would" is used in the clause. However "could" and "might" can also be used. "could" is used to mean "ability" or "possibility" and when it is used in the structure 'could+have done', it mean somebody should have done something but he/she didn't; "might/could " are used to mean "would possibly".
    2. "should" and "would" used after "I" and "we" bear the same meaning. American English uses "would".
    The following is my explanation:
    a. "would" indicates subjunctive mood. "should" indicates obligation
    b. "b"is not correct because "should" and "would" is the same so it can't be used here.
    c. "might" indicates both "failure" and "success" are possible. But the sentence suggests it is "failure".
    d. the problems have not been overcome; and the problems arose.
    Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.
    Jiang

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I can't.

    The reason for my apparently unhelpful answer is that, depending on what was in the speaker's mind at the moment of making that utterance, most of the modals you have given could be used in either position.

    Some grammar books try to pin precise meanings on would have, might have, could have and should have, but this is a very grey area.

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    #4

    Re: would and could

    It is true that sometimes, mostly in formal writing, you will find I/we should with the meaing of would, but it certainly doesn't apply here because the verbs are in the third person, so your explanation for b) doesn't work IMO.

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    #5

    Re: would and could

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It is true that sometimes, mostly in formal writing, you will find I/we should with the meaing of would, but it certainly doesn't apply here because the verbs are in the third person, so your explanation for b) doesn't work IMO.
    I agree.

    The next point - You write: "According to my grammar book, [...] "would" indicates subjunctive mood."

    Would is sometimes used when other languages would use a subjunctive form of the verb. However, most writers would agree that would + verb' is not a subjunctive form in English.

    Some people would argue that the underlined verb in if the people involved had just treated one another.. is subjunctive.

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    #6

    Re: would and could

    Dear Tdol,
    Thank you very much for your help.
    So in your opinion all of the choices are correct. Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It is true that sometimes, mostly in formal writing, you will find I/we should with the meaing of would, but it certainly doesn't apply here because the verbs are in the third person, so your explanation for b) doesn't work IMO.

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    #7

    Re: would and could

    Hi,
    Thank you very much for your help.
    I am sorry I didn't explain it clearly as to the grammar book. "would" is discussed in the chapter of subjuctive mood. In other words it discusses the usage of the word "would " in subjuctive clauses.
    Another point is if all of the four are correct then there must be some differences among them. I feel helpless because I don't know the differences. So even if I memorize them as correct I don't why.
    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I agree.

    The next point - You write: "According to my grammar book, [...] "would" indicates subjunctive mood."

    Would is sometimes used when other languages would use a subjunctive form of the verb. However, most writers would agree that would + verb' is not a subjunctive form in English.

    Some people would argue that the underlined verb in if the people involved had just treated one another.. is subjunctive.

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