Use of "would" in place of "will"

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tanvirtonu

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I want to know that can we use “would” in place of “will” in modern English. I saw Indian people writing sentences like- “ When there are friends, there’d be joy, when there are joy, there’d be smile, when there are smile, there’d be happiness….”.
In this sentence(also in others) , “would” is used simply to replace “will”, isn’t it?I have also seen them (Indians) using would indiscriminately in place of “will”.Is it correct? Why are they using “would” in this way?
 

Oprica Laura

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Firstly,I think is incorrect to use:"when there are joy",it should be "when there is joy".The same thing with smile;it's incorrect to use:"when there are smile",the correct form is when there is smile.Secondly, I agree with you in the above sentences would is used to replace will.I guess it is not correct,because as far as I know would is used in the past.
 

riverkid

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Secondly, I agree with you in the above sentences would is used to replace will.I guess it is not correct,because as far as I know would is used in the past.

Laura,

All modal verbs in modern day English can be used in the past, the present and the future. That because modals in modern English are tenseless.

All the "historical past tense forms", so called because hundreds of years ago they were actually past tense forms, are often used in the present and the future.

If I were to go with you, I would have to borrow some money.

If I could borrow the money then I would be able to go.
 

riverkid

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I want to know that can we use “would” in place of “will” in modern English.


Yes, we can, Tanvirtonu. In many situations, 'would' just makes the sentence feel more remote, more deferential, more unlikely to happen.

More later.
 

Oprica Laura

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Laura,

All modal verbs in modern day English can be used in the past, the present and the future. That because modals in modern English are tenseless.

All the "historical past tense forms", so called because hundreds of years ago they were actually past tense forms, are often used in the present and the future.

If I were to go with you, I would have to borrow some money.

If I could borrow the money then I would be able to go.

Thanks for your explanations.I'll remeber that!!!:)
 

rewboss

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Yes, we can, Tanvirtonu. In many situations, 'would' just makes the sentence feel more remote, more deferential, more unlikely to happen.

This is true, but it doesn't answer the specific question.

In a clause like "When there are friends...", the use of "when" implies that there will definitely be friends at some point. Using the past tense form "would" instead of "will" sounds unnatural because it doesn't match.

When we use "when" in this case, we usually do so because we want to be definite: there being joy is a logical consequence of there being friends. The sentence is clearly supposed to imply that having friends is the key to experiencing happiness, and this message would (ha!) be lost with the use of "would" here.

"When there are friends, it is possible that there might be joy, but then again, maybe not" -- that simply doesn't have the same force. Grammatical considerations aside, it's just poor style.
 

vil

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Hi tanvirtonu,

In my opinion, which is radically different (as like as an apple to an oyster) from this one of the knowledgeable rewboss, you can also use would when you look on the past and remember thing often happened.

When we were children, we lived by the sea. In summer, if the weather was nice, we would all get up early and go for a swim.

When we were children, we lived by the sea. In summer, if the weather was nice, we all used to get early and go for a swim.

Regards.

V.
 

vil

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Hi tanvirtonu,

There is another situation concerning an usage of "would" instead of "will"

Compare these examples:

Tom: I think I lefty my lighter at your house. Have you seen it?
Ann: No, but I'll look. If I find it, I'll give it to you.

In this example there is a real possibility that Ann will find the lighter. So she says "If I find.. I'll...

It's raining. We'll get wet if we go out.

Be careful not to confuse when and if:

I'm going shopping this afternoon. When I go shopping, I'll buy some food.

Ann: If I found a $100 bill on the street, I would keep it.

This is a different type of situation. Ann is not thinking about a real possibility; she is imagining the situation. So she says "If I found... I would ...

When you imagine a future happening like this, you use a past sense (did/came/found, etc.) after if. But the meaning is not past.

Ann wouldn't lend me any money if I asked her.

If you stopped smoking, you would probably feel healthier.

You have to be thoughtful towards an eventual replacement of "will" for "would".

Regards.

V.
 
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riverkid

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This is true, but it doesn't answer the specific question.

In a clause like "When there are friends...", the use of "when" implies that there will definitely be friends at some point. Using the past tense form "would" instead of "will" sounds unnatural because it doesn't match.

When we use "when" in this case, we usually do so because we want to be definite: there being joy is a logical consequence of there being friends. The sentence is clearly supposed to imply that having friends is the key to experiencing happiness, and this message would (ha!) be lost with the use of "would" here.

"When there are friends, it is possible that there might be joy, but then again, maybe not" -- that simply doesn't have the same force. Grammatical considerations aside, it's just poor style.

'would' isn't the past tense form. It's a tenseless modal form that is used in situations of greater doubt, situations that are more remote. So, as Rewboss notes, the use of would, with its modal meaning leaning towards the more doubtful side of the scale, is simply too remote for the situation.
 

rewboss

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'would' isn't the past tense form.
Well, using the correct technical term, it most assuredly is a past tense form. You shouldn't confuse names with functions: despite its name, a past tense form can indicate either a timeframe in the past, or a hypothetical action or state. This is true not just of modal verbs, but of any verb. If I knew how to explain the complexities of the English modal verb in one simple post, I would.
 

riverkid

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Well, using the correct technical term, it most assuredly is a past tense form.

You shouldn't confuse names with functions: despite its name, a past tense form can indicate either a timeframe in the past, or a hypothetical action or state. This is true not just of modal verbs, but of any verb. If I knew how to explain the complexities of the English modal verb in one simple post, I would.

There's a reason that 'knew' is a past tense and there's a reason that it's called a past tense. The modals are very different and you shouldn't confuse students with technical terms that are hardly agreed upon by all.

The reasons given by traditional grammar marking the modals as tensed were flawed then and they are flawed now. The modals operate freely in all time situations. That is a tenseless verb.

The ESLs at this site and that I teach and have taught have a much better grasp of how modals work now that they shed the mistaken idea that modals have tense.
 
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