1. ## The epistemic "would"

https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/112855-post8.html

According to riverkid, the epistemic "should" is a bit weaker than "would."

(1) He should win the first prize.
(2) He would win the first prize.

Which expresses with more strongly that "he" will win the first prize?

2. ## Re: The epistemic "would"

He will win the first prize. ( Maybe it is sure.The speaker believes him.)
He should win the first prize. ( It is "a thought".)
He would win the frist prize. ( It is past time.)

will/shall/would/should
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/le...arnitv43.shtml

3. ## Re: The epistemic "would"

Originally Posted by whitemoon
He would win the frist prize. ( It is past time.)
First things first. This is not necessarily a past time situation, WM. In fact, most of the time, these would be glossed/read/understood as a conditional future, as in,

He would win first prize if he entered.

Originally Posted by nyugaton
https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/112855-post8.html

According to riverkid, the epistemic "should" is a bit weaker than "would."
(1) He should win the first prize.
(2) He would win the first prize.
Which expresses with more strongly that "he" will win the first prize?

will and would both equal 100% certainty. Because 'would' operates in a realm that ranges from more doubtful to counterfactual, it seems more tentative than 'will'.

But it isn't. Upon the condition being met, it states the same degree of certainty, in a speaker's mind as does 'will'. When we use 'would' the entire concept/thought is dealt with in the uncertain to impossible realm. Even within this realm, we still need/have to have a way to state 100% certainty. 'would' fills that need just as 'will' does in the "certain to less certain" realm.

If I were you I would be Nyugaton.

This says that when the condition is met, there's 100% certainty I will be you.

It's kind of hard to compare these two, Nyu, because they are slightly different. Number (1), using 'should' seems to be more in the realm of REALITY, while number (2), using 'would' is clearly a conditional.

1. CONDITIONAL - GREATER DOUBT to COUNTERFACTUAL

If he entered, he would win first prize.

Here the speaker states it 100% certain he will win, if he enters, but the speaker has some doubts, expressed by "if + past tense FORM", that he will enter.

If he entered, he should win first prize.

[this 'should' is equal to a "probably/likely would"]

Here the speaker is stating there's a 51 to roughly in the high 80s percent chance he WOULD win if he entered.

2. CONDITIONAL - MORE REAL

100% certainty in speaker's mind - If he enters, he will win first prize.

51-8?% certainty in the speaker's mind - If he enters, he should win fIrst prize.

[this 'should' is equal to a "probably/likely will"]

[U]3. NO CONDITIONAL - REAL; [he has entered]

100% certainty in speaker's mind - He will win first prize.

9?-99% certainty in speakers's mind - He almost certaintly will win first prize.

51-8?% certainty in speaker's mind - He should win first prize. [this 'should' is equal to a "probably/likely will"]

26-50% certainty in speaker's mind - He may win first prize.

1-25% certainty in speaker's mind - He might win first prize.

This range, above, in number 3, works the same for all language. You can put 'may' and 'might' into number 2 and 1 too.

4. ## Re: The epistemic "would"

Where would you rank 'may well win'?

5. ## Re: The epistemic "would"

Originally Posted by Tdol
Where would you rank 'may well win'?
Hi Tdol.

'may well' and 'might' well' both sit at the top of their respective ranges, so a 'might well' can be virtually identical to a tentative [intonationally] 'may. In other words, there is a blurring at the "break points".

The numbers that I've used only represent a rough idea of the placement of these modals. It's hard to pin down exact cut off points and in speech and especially in writiing these modals usually only show a range, not a specificity.

So too, 'very likely + verb' sits at the high range of the 'should/probably/likely' grouping.

6. ## Re: The epistemic "would"

Please Tdol and anyone else, don't accept what I say if you don't agree. Please don't hesitate to critique if you think it's warranted.

7. ## Re: The epistemic "would"

I go along with your groupings. 'Might well' is a tricky one as 'might' suggest a reduced possibility, so it seems somewhat contradictory, though we do use it.

8. ## Re: The epistemic "would"

Originally Posted by Tdol
I go along with your groupings. 'Might well' is a tricky one as 'might' suggest a reduced possibility, so it seems somewhat contradictory, though we do use it.
Good day, Tdol.

I don't follow what you mean. A number of modals suggest a reduced possibility when compared to another/other modals.

10. ## Re: The epistemic "would"

Originally Posted by nyugaton
My pleasure, Nyugaton. Where are you located in Japan?

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