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    #1

    He wouldn't have known what it means then.

    Is the below one correct to use in spoken english:
    He wouldn't have known what it means then.
    or should we use 'meant' only.

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: He wouldn't have known what it means then.

    Both are possible. Note that 'English' must have an initial capital. You need a comma after 'them', not a full stop.

    later ps: See also post 4.
    Last edited by Piscean; 19-Aug-2016 at 06:15. Reason: ps added

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    #3

    Re: He wouldn't have known what it means then.

    Thank you. And it should be 'meant' in written English. Right?

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: He wouldn't have known what it means then.

    Both are possible in written English in some contexts, though 'meant is far more likely.

    I have just noticed the absence of a comma after 'means' in your original sentence. If 'then' refers to a time in the past, then only 'meant' is correct.

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    #5

    Re: He wouldn't have known what it means then.

    Doesn't 'wouldn't have' refer to the past only? How would keeping 'then' at the end matter?
    (If I removed the article 'the' before 'past' in the above sentence, would it be wrong? Why? I put it instinctively without any reason)
    Also please answer my post titled 'Mixed Doubts' as well.
    Last edited by MeyaN; 19-Aug-2016 at 09:05.

  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: He wouldn't have known what it means then.

    I think 'what it means', the simple present, could refer to the past, the present, and the future.
    I am not a teacher.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: He wouldn't have known what it means then.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeyaN View Post
    Doesn't 'wouldn't have' refer to the past only? How would keeping 'then' at the end matter?
    Then can mean:

    as a result; in that case; also used as a way of joining a statement to an earlier piece of conversation:

    You'll be selling your house, then?
    Have a rest now, and then you won't be so tired tonight.


    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/then?a=british

    With that meaning.He wouldn't have known what it means then, is possible. He would not have know (in the past) what it means (in general). Backshifting to meant is also possible.

    (If I removed the article 'the' before 'past' in the above sentence, would it be wrong?
    It's not wrong, but I would use the article.
    Also answer my post titled 'Mixed Doubts' as well.
    We prefer polite requests to demands.

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: He wouldn't have known what it means then.

    I think it is possible to say 'I didn't know what this word means, but I do now'.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeyaN View Post
    the below one
    The one below.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #9

    Re: He wouldn't have known what it means then.

    I'm sorry if it sounded like a demand. It's my bad not to add please to make it clear that's a request. Some don't like please, sir and the like. Otherwise, I'm inclined to make the answerer sure that its a request. Excuse me this time.

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    #10

    Re: He wouldn't have known what it means then.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I think it is possible to say 'I didn't know what this word means, but I do now'.
    It's possible, but with the clear break from past ignorance to present knowledge, 'meant' is more likely.

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