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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    would in past states

    I came across the following sentence: Is it correct?

    "In The Masque of the Red Death, all the guests to Prince Prosperous’ party would be still and silent whenever the tall Grandfather clock in the living-room chimed the hour."

    I was taught not to use would in past states. That's why I have this doubt.


    ​Thanks in advance.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: would in past states

    Whoever taught you that was wrong. One of the common uses of "would" is to refer to past habitual action. This is the case in your sentence.

  3. tkacka15's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: would in past states

    Quote Originally Posted by ronao View Post
    I came across the following sentence: Is it correct?

    "In The Masque of the Red Death, all the guests to Prince Prosperous’ party would be still and silent whenever the tall Grandfather clock in the living-room chimed the hour."

    I was taught not to use would in past states. That's why I have this doubt.​Thanks in advance.
    What is the context of this narrative? Is it a description of the event buried in the distant past? Isn't it a sort of "would" used in so called historical past like it is, for example, in the Bible?
    I'm not a teacher and I'm not a native speaker of English.

  4. lotus888's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: would in past states

    Prince Prospero, not Prince Prosperous.

    It's a great short story by Edgar Allan Poe.

    http://www.poemuseum.org/works-masque.php

    It was within this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. [Its] pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to hearken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and while the chimes of the clock yet rang[,] it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused revery or meditation. But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of Time that flies), there came yet another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as before.


    EAP



    --lotus
    Last edited by lotus888; 20-Sep-2015 at 08:12.

  5. Junior Member
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    #5

    Re: would in past states

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Whoever taught you that was wrong. One of the common uses of "would" is to refer to past habitual action. This is the case in your sentence.
    I meant that we can use 'would' when referring to habitual, repeated actions for instance: Every Saturday I would go on a long bike ride but not in: we would live in New York when I was a kid. Am I right?
    Now, I don't know if my sentence in post #1 is correct.
    Thank you in advance, MikeNewYork.

  6. Junior Member
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    #6

    Re: would in past states

    Quote Originally Posted by tkacka15 View Post
    What is the context of this narrative? Is it a description of the event buried in the distant past? Isn't it a sort of "would" used in so called historical past like it is, for example, in the Bible?
    I donīt know tkacka! I'm analysing sentences in isolation. I have no context.

  7. tkacka15's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: would in past states

    Quote Originally Posted by ronao View Post
    I donīt know tkacka! I'm analysing sentences in isolation. I have no context.
    There is a context. See the Lotus888's post.
    I'm not a teacher and I'm not a native speaker of English.

  8. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: would in past states

    Your sentence in post 1 is correct. You are correct about "we would live in New York when I was a kid". That should have the verb "lived".
    Last edited by MikeNewYork; 20-Sep-2015 at 10:33. Reason: typo

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    #9

    Re: would in past states

    ... or "we used to live in New York when I was a kid".

  10. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: would in past states

    That works.

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