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    #1

    Is "he would be strict" okay?"

    Dear all,

    In the sentences below, I understand #1 is fine but #2 is wrong.

    1 Tom used to be a football player player officer when he was young.
    2 Tom would be a police officer when he was young.

    But I'm not sure if #4 is fine and has the same meaning as #3

    3 Tom used to be very strict and aggressive when he was young, but now he has mellowed.
    4 Tom would be very strict and aggressive when he was young, but now he has mellowed.

    Does # 4 mean the same as #3?

    Thank you!

    OP

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Is "he would be strict" okay?"

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Dear all,

    In the sentences below, I understand #1 is fine but #2 is wrong.

    1 Tom used to be a football player player officer when he was young.
    2 Tom would be a police officer when he was young.

    But I'm not sure if #4 is fine and has the same meaning as #3

    3 Tom used to be very strict and aggressive when he was young, but now he has mellowed.
    4 Tom would be very strict and aggressive when he was young, but now he has mellowed.

    Does # 4 mean the same as #3?

    Thank you!

    OP
    Yes, they mean the same. Whether #4 is acceptable would depend on the context you used it in. If it were spoken, the intonation would help to make it work.
    Generally, when we use "would" in this way, we apply it to specific situations, "Tom would be very strict with his children when they were naughty." But we don't use it for semi-permanent characteristics like "Mary would be very kind/happy/depressed when she lived in Perth." You'd need "used to be" for this.
    Your #4 is borderline to me.

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    #3

    Re: Is "he would be strict" okay?"

    Dear all,

    Raymott, thanks for your reply.

    I'd like to make sure if I'm on the right track.

    If "Tom would be very strict with his children when they were naughty" is fine,

    how about "Tom would be a very strict teacher when his children were naughty"? Is it also fine? In this sentence a noun phrase (a very strict teacher) comes after be.

    Thank you !

    OP

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Is "he would be strict" okay?"

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Dear all,

    Raymott, thanks for your reply.

    I'd like to make sure if I'm on the right track.

    If "Tom would be very strict with his children when they were naughty" is fine,

    how about "Tom would be a very strict teacher when his children were naughty"? Is it also fine? In this sentence a noun phrase (a very strict teacher) comes after be.

    Thank you !

    OP
    It's not generally used that way.

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    #5

    Re: Is "he would be strict" okay?"

    Hi Raymott,

    Thanks again.

    If so, your sentence is fine because an adjective(strict) comes after be?

    Thanks!

    OP

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