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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    If you would ask any of his players

    I think the reason why "would" was used here is to express the subject's willingness or intention, and it's different from "If you asked" which just denotes an impossible or unlikely action. I think whether Tom Osborne is alive or not is irrelevant to this conditional, as even if he passed away, the sentence could be either "would ask" or "asked".
    But I'm not sure if "would" means "willingness". What do you think?

    st176
    ex)Tom Osborne loved coaching. It was his life. But he was more. He was more than just a coach. If you would ask any of his players, they would tell you that he was a father figure, a good friend... But probably more than that, he loved the opportunity to help his players grow mentally and spiritually and become outstanding citizens. As Coach has said over his magnificent career, that in the end is all that counts.

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: If you would ask any of his players

    I see your reasoning, but it's just a common error. 'If you asked...' is the correct condition, counter to reality, for the conditional "he would tell you..."

  3. keannu's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: If you would ask any of his players

    Okay, thanks, then there is no willingness implied, right?
    I thought so as I seem to have seen American ways of conditionals like "If you would have gone there, you would have met her" = "If you had gone there, you would have met her", a counterfactual past conditional. I thought this could be applied to the present conditional as well, but I think I'm mistaken.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: If you would ask any of his players

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Okay, thanks, then there is no willingness implied, right?
    I thought so as I seem to have seen American ways of conditionals like "If you would have gone there, you would have met her" = "If you had gone there, you would have met her", a counterfactual past conditional. I thought this could be applied to the present conditional as well, but I think I'm mistaken.
    That's grammatically incorrect, unless you mean something else.
    Yes, some people say, "If you would have ... " or "If you would of ..." for "If you had ...", but it's not right.
    "If you would have ..." means something different.

  5. keannu's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: If you would ask any of his players

    Thanks a lot, then how you express your willingness in a counterfactual present conditional grammatically?
    Is it like "If you had the willingness to ask any of his players, they would tell you..."? Maybe there's nothing like that.

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    #6

    Re: If you would ask any of his players

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    I think the reason why "would" was used here is to express the subject's willingness or intention, and it's different from "If you asked" which just denotes an impossible or unlikely action. I think whether Tom Osborne is alive or not is irrelevant to this conditional, as even if he passed away, the sentence could be either "would ask" or "asked".
    But I'm not sure if "would" means "willingness". What do you think?

    st176
    ex)Tom Osborne loved coaching. It was his life. But he was more. He was more than just a coach. If you would ask any of his players, they would tell you that he was a father figure, a good friend... But probably more than that, he loved the opportunity to help his players grow mentally and spiritually and become outstanding citizens. As Coach has said over his magnificent career, that in the end is all that counts.
    Highly unlikely, I would say. Unless the players in question were psychic, it would hardly be your simple willingness to pose the question that would elicit the response, but rather the fact of your actually doing so!

    Cf. the polite, formulaic use of subjunctive 'would' in e.g.

    I would be grateful if you would sign your name here.

    where the speaker is prepared to express his/her gratitude for an indication that you are willing to perform the act, the act itself being (theoretically, at least!) of only secondary importance.
    Last edited by philo2009; 21-Mar-2012 at 05:00.

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