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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Bengali; Bangla
      • Home Country:
      • Bangladesh
      • Current Location:
      • India

    • Join Date: Oct 2013
    • Posts: 6
    #1

    Red face Doubt in would/could etc

    Hello,

    I am a new user and i am a self taught English learner mostly take help from the internet.


    Currently I am learning the different aspects of modals, conditionals and imaginaries.

    I am quoting some lyrics from two songs and I have few doubts in identifying what is what.


    From Simon and Garfunkel:

    "I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail.
    Yes I would.
    If I could,
    I surely would.

    I'd rather be a hammer than a nail.
    Yes I would.
    If I only could,
    I surely would."

    What are would and could mean here in this context? like if he had the power of turning himself to a sparrow he would do that? or same goes to hammer and snail thing? Is he imagining about this?


    2. From Jack Jhonson

    "
    A brand new baby was born yesterday
    Just in time
    Papa cried, baby cried
    Said "Your tears are like mine"
    I heard some words
    From a friend on the phone
    That didn't sound so good
    The doctor gave him two weeks to live
    I'd give him more if I could

    You know that I would now
    If only I could
    You know that I would now
    If only I could
    "

    In this case i have a confusion. The singer is singing about a past situation like a baby was born(with defects or disability??), he heard, didn't sound.....

    Then he says
    The doctor gave him two weeks to live
    I'd give him more if I could
    what does it mean? Is he expressing his desire? When the doctor could hardly give the baby 2 weeks to live...does the person wish that if he had the power to control someone's life and death he would give the child more life to live???

    Please help me
    regards,
    usersixtythree :):)

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 24,492
    #2

    Re: Doubt in would/could etc

    Welcome to the forums, usersixtythree.

    You have already got the right idea about the use of would and could.

    'I would if I could' means 'I am willing to do it if I had the ability to do it'.

    Click here to find links to many similar threads about would/could/should.

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