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    #1

    What does 'they would have made a search" mean?

    I'm quite certain they would have made a search and found him. This sentence is taken from COLLINS COBUILD ENGLISH USAGE. The Chinese translation of this dictionary translates this sentence as something like 'I'm quite certain they made a search and found him'.

    But I would think they didn't make any search for him. But if they had learned about his disappearing, they would have made a search and found him. However, the fact is, they didn't learn about it. Am I right?

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: What does 'they would have made a search" mean?

    You're right in that the did not search for him.
    But it's not necessarily so that he disappeared and they didn't know about it.
    It could be that he never went missing in the first place.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: What does 'they would have made a search" mean?

    I'm quite certain they would have made a search and found him if he had gone missing/if they had discovered him missing.

    The red part is the third conditional where both the main clause and if clause had not happened.
    Is it correct?

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    #4

    Re: What does 'they would have made a search" mean?

    You don't "make" a search. You conduct a search.

  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: What does 'they would have made a search" mean?

    But it was quoted from COLLINS COBUILD ENGLISH USAGE, how can it be wrong?

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    #6

    Re: What does 'they would have made a search" mean?

    Maybe they "make" searches in BrE. It's an odd choice of words for me. I could even see "do a search" in some cases, but not "make."

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    #7

    Re: What does 'they would have made a search" mean?

    I'm quite certain they would have made a search (effort) and found him.

    It's possible the person was lost/missing, but was found quickly before the search effort began.


    I agree that it's not the best choice of words.


    --lotus

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    #8

    Re: What does 'they would have made a search" mean?

    We make searches in BrE.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #9

    Re: What does 'they would have made a search" mean?

    "They would have made a search and found him" does not imply that they didn't make a search - if that's the quote we are talking about.
    If the sentence is "They would have made a search", it still applies. Yes, you can change the meaning by adding an if-clause, but I don't think one appears in the original.

    "I heard that Peter was lost all last week. But I saw him today at school."
    "They would have made a search and found him" - They made a search.
    The Chinese translation is mostly correct in this sense. I don't know where they get their certainty from though.

    "They would have ..." means "I suspect they did", as well as a few other things depending on the grammatical context.

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    #10

    Re: What does 'they would have made a search" mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    I'm quite certain they would have ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    "They would have ..." means "I suspect they did"
    Is 'quite certain' in keeping with 'suspect'?

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