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    #1

    I wish I knew what he would / will do in this case.

    I wish I knew what he would / will do in this case.

    I wish I knew what he is / was going to do in this case.

    Could either verb be used in each case?

    Thanks.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I wish I knew what he would / will do in this case.

    No.

    There are subtle differences of meaning.

    I wish I knew what he would do in this case.
    You admire his judgment. He is wise. If you knew what he would do, you would probably imitate him.

    I wish I knew what he will do in this case.
    You may likely be in conflict or negotiation with him. You are worrying about what he might do in the future.

    I wish I knew what he is going to do in this case.
    Same as immediately above.

    I wish I knew what he was going to do in this case.
    The matter is past, settled. We all know how it came out in the end. The speaker is asking speculatively how things might have ended differently if his intentions had been known.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: I wish I knew what he would / will do in this case.

    I disagree with probus' final example. In my opinion, we say "I wish I knew what he was going to do" when whatever it is hasn't happened yet.

    Me: Where's John?
    Tom: I don't know. He left about ten minutes ago. He was really angry.
    Me: Why?
    Tom: He had a row with his girlfriend and he stormed out, drunk and carrying the car keys. He said he was going to do something drastic.
    Me: Oh no, we have to find him.
    Tom: Yes, let's go and look for him.
    Me: I wish I knew what he was going to do. Let's try his girlfriend's house first.

    John probably hasn't carried out the deed yet, whatever it is. The last line does not mean "I wish I knew what he had planned to do when he left" (although that is a possible interpretation). It means "I wish I knew what act he might carry out".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: I wish I knew what he would / will do in this case.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I disagree with probus' final example. In my opinion, we say "I wish I knew what he was going to do" when whatever it is hasn't happened yet.

    Me: Where's John?
    Tom: I don't know. He left about ten minutes ago. He was really angry.
    Me: Why?
    Tom: He had a row with his girlfriend and he stormed out, drunk and carrying the car keys. He said he was going to do something drastic.
    Me: Oh no, we have to find him.
    Tom: Yes, let's go and look for him.
    Me: I wish I knew what he was going to do. Let's try his girlfriend's house first.

    John probably hasn't carried out the deed yet, whatever it is. The last line does not mean "I wish I knew what he had planned to do when he left" (although that is a possible interpretation). It means "I wish I knew what act he might carry out".
    Sorry for my breaking in.
    Do these three sentence mean the same? Is it possible to use either #2 or #3 instead of #4 in the conversation you have provided?
    #2. I wish I knew what he will do in this case.
    #3. I wish I knew what he is going to do in this case.
    #4. I wish I knew what he was going to do in this case.

  3. probus's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: I wish I knew what he would / will do in this case.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I disagree with probus' final example. In my opinion, we say "I wish I knew what he was going to do" when whatever it is hasn't happened yet.

    Me: Where's John?
    Tom: I don't know. He left about ten minutes ago. He was really angry.
    Me: Why?
    Tom: He had a row with his girlfriend and he stormed out, drunk and carrying the car keys. He said he was going to do something drastic.
    Me: Oh no, we have to find him.
    Tom: Yes, let's go and look for him.
    Me: I wish I knew what he was going to do. Let's try his girlfriend's house first.

    John probably hasn't carried out the deed yet, whatever it is. The last line does not mean "I wish I knew what he had planned to do when he left" (although that is a possible interpretation). It means "I wish I knew what act he might carry out".
    Agreed, and your usage as a hypothetical is much the more common. But my usage as past tense is also possible albeit much less likely, don't you think?
    Last edited by probus; 25-Aug-2013 at 05:22.

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    #6

    Re: I wish I knew what he would / will do in this case.

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    But my usage as past tense is also possible albeit much less likely, don't you think?
    If I were going to be "asking speculatively how things might have ended differently if his intentions had been known", I would use (as you did in your explanation) the past perfect, because it is referring to an action that would have hypothetically occurred prior to what he was going to do:
    - I wish I had known what he was going to do.

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