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    #1

    Would / wouldn't

    "If the bad guys could harm us, do you have any doubt that they _____?"

    Which word ("would" or "wouldn't") is grammatically and logically correct in that sentence?


    Thank you,


    James

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    #2

    Re: Would / wouldn't

    Here's how I see it, James:

    I don't think that they could harm us = I doubt that they would = I have no doubt that they wouldn't = I am sure that they wouldn't = Do you have any doubt that they wouldn't?

    Regards,
    Pete

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    #3

    Re: Would / wouldn't

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Pete:

    I found some info that intrigued me. May I share it with you?

    One authority says that ambiguity "arises when 'doubt' is used in the sense of 'suspect' or 'fear (that).' "

    According to him, "I doubt that Thackery did not write the Latin epitaph" would "have been more clearly expressed" as: "I doubt whether Thackery wrote the Latin epitaph."

    And "I doubt that they will not contain the latest news" would "have been more clearly expressed" as: "I doubt whether they will contain the latest news."



    James


    Authority: Eric Partridge, Usage and Abusage (1963).

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    #4

    Re: Would / wouldn't

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    "If the bad guys could harm us, do you have any doubt that they _____?"

    Which word ("would" or "wouldn't") is grammatically and logically correct in that sentence?


    Thank you,


    James
    Would. If they could, they would.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Would / wouldn't

    I'm on the fence about this one but only with a change of wording. I find these three acceptable:

    If they could XXX, do you think they would?
    If they could XXX, don't you think they would?
    If they could XXX, why wouldn't they?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Would / wouldn't

    I would go with "would" in the original.

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