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  1. VIP Member
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    #1

    He would try to save the glass, and cut himself; and then he would spring ro

    "He would try to save the glass, and cut himself; and then he would spring round the room, looking for his handkerchief. He could not find his handkerchief."

    These lines are from the novel "Three Men In A Boat" by Jerome K Jerome. In this part writer is telling about his uncle Podger. The things he used to do so writer used "would" but why did he use "could" in the last sentence? It should have been "would" why did he use "could"? He is telling about past habits the things he used to do. Are "would" and "could" interchangeable in some situations when "would" is being used in place of "used to do"?

  2. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: He would try to save the glass, and cut himself; and then he would spring ro

    I'm not completely convinced he's talking about past habits here. I would like to see more context, perhaps the sentences before and after these two, to be sure.

  3. VIP Member
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    #3

    Re: He would try to save the glass, and cut himself; and then he would spring ro

    You need more than a sentence or two: http://www.authorama.com/three-men-in-a-boat-3.html

  4. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: He would try to save the glass, and cut himself; and then he would spring ro

    He's using could in place of would not be able to.

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