+0
Food was provided for the deceased and should the expected regular offerings of the descendants cease, food depicted on the walls of the tomb would be magically transformed to supply the needs of the dead. Images on tombs might include a triangular shaped piece of bread (part of the food offerings from a tomb). Other images might represent food items that the tomb owner would have eaten in his lifetime and hoped to eat in the after-life.

This is about ancient Egyptian. Please explain the boldface part for me. Thanks!
1 2
Comments  (Page 2) 
Nef
Flora Tang
I am soooo confused with the tense-would have eaten.

why not "the tomb owner have eaten in his lifetime"?

Other images might represent food items that the tomb owner would have eaten in his lifetime and hoped to eat in the after-life.

The "might" shows some uncertainty. It's like saying "It is possible that..."

"Would have eaten" handles the uncertainty very well.

If the tomb owner had been in his lifetime, he would have eaten the food items.

The food items which the tomb owner loved best.

Isn't it?
This is a link to a website that talks about conditional sentences. (I agree with Marius' suggestion.)

http://www.edufind.com/english/grammar/IF6.cfm

---------------------------------------------

Also, let's look at the original sentence (# 1) and another sentence (# 2).

1. Other images might represent food items that the tomb owner would have eaten in his lifetime and hoped to eat in the after-life.

2. Other images might represent food items that the tomb owner had eaten in his lifetime and hoped to eat in the after-life.

Let's say that I'm looking at an Egyptian tomb that is several thousand years old.

I know a little, but not a lot.

I think it is possible that the kind of food painted on the walls is the same kind of food that the person in the tomb ate. But I am not sure of this. That is why I use "might" in the sentence.

# 2 is very close to that meaning, but # 1 does a better job of expressing uncertainty.

---------------------------------------------

Somebody else might be able to explain that a lot better than I can. Emotion: smile
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
food items that the tomb owner would have eaten in his lifetime

If the tomb owner had been in his lifetime, he would have eaten the food items.

The food items which the tomb owner loved best.

Isn't it?
Other images

might

possibly

represent food items that

the tomb owner

In Egypt that one who died owns a tomb. It is his place of connection with the people alive

would have eaten

Ha, this is tricky. The text is talking about the past and what was happening in the past, normally you can say would eat = had habitually as a meat = had eat usually. However, here the text is referring to the event before the person died so it is not would eat but would have eaten = would eat before he died. It is used as well here because in the text it is assumed for a moment that the dead eats after death.

in his lifetime and

hoped to eat in the after-life.

hoped is in the past that is why you have would have eaten, eat is shifted to the moment before the death eat = have eaten and is observed only up to that moment, but has a connection with the time after the death, which is the condition when we use the present perfect.

I agree that constructions are unusual, but that is only because in the text the death is not regarded as the end, rather a transformation.
Flora Tangfood items that the tomb owner would have eaten in his lifetime

If the tomb owner had been in his lifetime [say "alive"], he would have eaten the food items.

The food items which the tomb owner loved best.
Isn't it?
Basically, yes, he liked them during his lifetime/when alive and he wanted to taste/eat them during the after-life too.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.