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    #1

    past tense

    Is 'would' the past tense of 'will"? Or the past form of 'will? If not, how would you describe their relationship?

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: past tense

    "Some linguists consider will a future [tense] marker and give English two more tenses, future tense and future-in-past tense, which are shown by will and would..." Read more here...

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    #3

    Re: past tense

    Thanks, Casiopea, for the link.

    Now I know that 'would' is 'future-in-past' tense, something new to me, really.

    Thanks, again.

    Best regards

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #4

    Re: past tense

    You're most welcome.


    • Join Date: Sep 2005
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    #5

    Re: past tense

    Quote Originally Posted by kohyoongliat View Post
    Is 'would' the past tense of 'will"? Or the past form of 'will? If not, how would you describe their relationship?
    In the simplest terms, will is a modal verb and would is its past form.

    Cassy is quite right that 'will' is a future marker, since it is used for intentions (that is what 'will' means - "my wish" from the latin velle) and intentions are intrinsically in the future.

    'would' is the past form of 'will', so it is in effect the past of the future which equals the present(!), or the 'future-in-the-past' as Cassy called it. Since an intention can't be present - if you are doing it now it is not an intention - 'would' is basically used for preferences in one disguise or another.

    On a personal note, I dislike the term 'future tense', on the grounds that tense is applied to verbs, and English verbs have only past and present - 'walk' is present, 'walked' is past, but what do you do to 'walk' to make it future? You can't do anything to it, so you have to use a work around using will, going to, etc.

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