# Hypothetical Would?

•  4

A: I don’t know if he will come to the party tomorrow. If he came, that would be great.
C: The congress has introduced a bill regarding semiconductor chips. It would allow semiconductor companies to have billions of dollars in subsidies.

D: It would be better to go there tomorrow, in my opinion.

F: Some beers would be fantastic. (There are no beers at dinner)

G: The credit card data would suggest the US consumers are struggling. (The credit card data came out this morning)

Are these sentences correct and are the woulds used in the sentences above hypothetical(conditional)? Please let me know which would is conditional(hypothetical) and which would is would of probability/guess/assumption etc.? I would really appreciate your help.

EverestCTSA: I don’t know if he will come to the party tomorrow. If he came, that would be great.

would used to express an opinion about an imagined situation.

Without would: It's great that he came to the party. Here the situation is not imagined.

is becomes would be and that becomes if in the imagined version:
It would be great if he came to the party.

Here the subordinate clauses are shifted from the beginning of the sentence to the end and a "dummy it" replaces the clause.

That he came to the party is great > It is great that he came to the party.
*If he came to the party would be great > It would be great if he came to the party.

Alternate form in the second case:
If he came to the party, it/that would be great.

(Initial * means "ungrammatical", so the movement of the subordinate clause to the end — or the alternate form — is required in the second case.)

D and F also belong to this category.

It would be better to go there tomorrow, in my opinion is equivalent to It would be better if we went there tomorrow.

Some beers would be fantastic. (There are no beers at dinner.) is equivalent to It would be fantastic if we had some beers at dinner.

The explanation for these is the same as the explanation shown above for sentence A.

You can invent these by the thousands.

It's sad that Susan's mother died.
It would be sad if Susan's mother died.

It's amazing that we won the lottery.
It would be amazing if we won the lottery.

It's unusual that Mr Foulard wasn't wearing a scarf.
It would be unusual if Mr Foulard wasn't/weren't wearing a scarf.

There are variants, of course, and you can get creative with that. You don't even need an if-clause to show an opinion about an imagined situation:

It would be unusual to see Mr Foulard without a scarf.

CJ

would to show willingness.

Also, implied second conditional.

Both together:

E is basically the same except the conditional is not implied. It's explicitly shown as "if". The aspect of willingness is weaker here.

(Your remark Meaning he wouldn’t help you if you didn’t ask him is mystifying because it doesn't mean that. Not exactly, anyway, because he might see that you're having trouble doing something and offer to help even if you didn't ask for help.)

CJ

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EverestCTSC: The congress has introduced a bill regarding semiconductor chips. It would allow semiconductor companies to have billions of dollars in subsidies.

The implicit condition is "If the bill were enacted". (In case you didn't know, to enact a bill is to make it a law.)

So this is a second conditional with an implicit condition.

CJ

EverestCTSG: The credit card data would suggest the US consumers are struggling. (The credit card data came out this morning.)

would suggest ~ seems to suggest

If you want to make up a new term for your list of woulds, you can say it's "the would of appearances". This can be a subcategory under the would of uncertainty because 'seems' is more uncertain than 'is'. For emphasis you can even have would seem ~ would seem to seem. But in my opinion, that's overdoing it.

CJ

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CalifJim
EverestCTSA: I don’t know if he will come to the party tomorrow. If he came, that would be great.

would used to express an opinion about an imagined situation.

Without would: It's great that he came to the party. Here the situation is not imagined.

is becomes would be and that becomes if in the imagined version:
It would be great if he came to the party.

Here the subordinate clauses are shifted from the beginning of the sentence to the end and a "dummy it" replaces the clause.

That he came to the party is great > It is great that he came to the party.
*If he came to the party would be great > It would be great if he came to the party.

Alternate form in the second case:
If he came to the party, it/that would be great.

(Initial * means "ungrammatical", so the movement of the subordinate clause to the end — or the alternate form — is required in the second case.)

D and F also belong to this category.

It would be better to go there tomorrow, in my opinion is equivalent to It would be better if we went there tomorrow.

Some beers would be fantastic. (There are no beers at dinner.) is equivalent to It would be fantastic if we had some beers at dinner.

The explanation for these is the same as the explanation shown above for sentence A.

You can invent these by the thousands.

It's sad that Susan's mother died.
It would be sad if Susan's mother died.

It's amazing that we won the lottery.
It would be amazing if we won the lottery.

It's unusual that Mr Foulard wasn't wearing a scarf.
It would be unusual if Mr Foulard wasn't/weren't wearing a scarf.

There are variants, of course, and you can get creative with that. You don't even need an if-clause to show an opinion about an imagined situation:

It would be unusual to see Mr Foulard without a scarf.

CJ

Thank you very much CJ for your all the detail. I am afraid you didn’t check all my sentences. Would you mind please letting me know if all my sentences are correct or not, whether would is conditional or would of probability/assumptions? You can answer in short in yes or no, hypothetical would or would of probability/assumption.

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EverestCTSI am afraid you didn’t check all my sentences.

You have to be patient. These answers don't enter my brain instantaneously, you know. It takes some time to think about these things and find a way to express my thoughts in a way that will be useful to you.

Here's another video you might be interested in.

aFjLf5ry3zw

CJ

CalifJim
EverestCTSI am afraid you didn’t check all my sentences.

You have to be patient. These answers don't enter my brain instantaneously, you know. It takes some time to think about these things and find a way to express my thoughts in a way that will be useful to you.

CJ

I really apologize for that. I was just trying to get the answers while you are on the forum. Thank you for checking all my sentences. Would you mind checking one more example?

Alex: Do you know who can help me with house painting?

Is would used correctly? Is it a true conditional not with vacuous condition? Does it have an implied condition “if you asked him”? Meaning only if you asked him, he would help you.

In third conditionals, the way to know if it’s a true third conditional is to know if the opposites of if clause and the main clause are true in reality. For eg.

If you had helped me, I would’ve won the match.

The opposite is true meaning you didn’t help me and I didn’t win the match.

What about for second conditionals? for eg.

If he came to the party tomorrow, that would be awesome.
I don’t think the opposites are true in reality meaning I don’t think it means he won’t come to the party and that won’t be awesome. How do you know if it’s a true second conditional?

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EverestCTS

Alex: Do you know who can help me with house painting?

Is would used correctly? Is it a true conditional not with vacuous condition? Does it have an implied condition “if you asked him”? Meaning only if you asked him, he would help you.

The sentence He would help you is not ungrammatical, but in the given context it's a little unusual. I expect something more confident like He'll help you.

At first I thought there might be an implicit if you asked him with he would help you. As I think about it, though, even with would it's not a true conditional — at least not a causal conditional, because asking doesn't exactly cause him to help.

I prefer to say that would indicates a little uncertainty here. It paraphrases as He might help you or He is pretty likely to help you or He will probably help you, so it fits better into the category of the would of probability. Nevertheless, I can sense some overlap with a true conditional. This is not so very uncommon. The usage of would is not always exactly in one category or another. Also, I don't think the meaning in that situation is Only if you asked him, he would help you.

I know that's a sort of non-answer, but as you already know, the usage of would is not an easy topic, so there are no easy answers.

CJ

(More to follow.)