Would you explain what kind of would this is? Why would is being used instead of will?

"If our sources are right, this would break the pattern of Apple unveiling the latest iOS iteration in the early spring, leading up to a summer launch alongside new iPhone hardware."

Thank you,
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mitsuwao23I'll copy and paste
OK. I didn't realize you were just giving the context of the previous example. As it turns out, the context confirms what I thought about the usage of would.

In an earlier post, you said, "I think the writer is talking about something in the future but he uses would."

While it is true that, in general throughout this passage, the writer is talking about certain possible future events, I believe that he is not interested in the futurity of the breaking of an established pattern.

Here are some specific events where the writer is talking about the future.

iOS 5 may be launched (in the future) -- in the fall.
Or there may be another event to talk about iOS 5 (in the future) -- in April.

But these are specific events. They are not comments on the relationship between general patterns of behavior that Apple has established in the past and patterns that Apple is now establishing with this new behavior. So the writer is not really concerned with the idea that Apple will break a pattern of behavior in the future. As far as the writer is concerned, the pattern has already been broken -- or at least this certainly seems to be the case. The writer is thinking about Apple's behavior much more abstractly -- not as an event that will take place.

I'll try to find some other examples of this usage for you. If I can find some good ones, I'll add them to this post later.

Thank you for the great, great explanation. I feel like I finally heard the "click" in my head. I've been fighting with this "would" for years, and it's getting closer to the end.Emotion: rofl

I think I found the similar example of this would from an interview on NPR. Is this it?
"So you learned to harmonize in the church. That would make sense."

Thanks again!
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mitsuwao23I think I found the similar example of this would from an interview on NPR. Is this it?
"So you learned to harmonize in the church. That would make sense."
Yes. Like the example we talked about earlier in this thread, it's a different, more indirect way of saying the same thing without would. That makes sense. The difference is the addition of the speaker's attitude about the fact that it makes sense. He's saying, if we paraphrase it as above, That certainly seems to make sense or That certainly shows all indications of making sense.

Another example is when someone agrees with you by saying "I would think so," stressing the last two words as shown.

-- My son has had a bad cold for three weeks. He just can't shake it. I suppose I should take him to see a doctor.
-- I would think so!
= I do think so! ~ All indications are that you certainly should do that.

(The second speaker above might also have said, with the same effect: That would be a good idea, meaning That is a good idea.)

Note the peculiarity of the messaging: The speaker uses would, usually a mark of uncertainty. But in doing so, he intends to convey the opposite message -- that he is certain about how the situation appears. He does this by depending upon the listener's knowledge that, given the situation, he can't possibly mean what he says literally. The listener knows that the speaker can't possibly mean that he's uncertain. The listener knows that the speaker is only pretending to be uncertain. The speaker is making his point by saying something that, taken literally, greatly understates what he truly believes.

I hope I haven't added to any confusion by appending that note.

Hi. I think I would be happy to find out what some examples of the usage that has been discussed in this thread so far are (when you add them later).

What I am curious about at this time is whether we could apply this modal verb "would" in the main clause when the if-clause is in the present tense?

Would you say this is correct?

John Doe has been spreading a rumor that his friend has been seeing another person as a serious marriage partner, aside from the lady he has been seeing for the past four years. Does that mean he has been seeing two people for some time? Anyway, you know the lady his friend has been seeing for that many years is my best friend.

If John Doe is right, that would make me very sad.

What would be the difference, if the verb in the if-clause were "were" instead of what it is above, "is"?
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AnonymousWould you say this is correct?

John Doe has been spreading a rumor that ...

If John Doe is right, that would make me very sad.It is correct.
AnonymousWhat would be the difference, if the verb in the if-clause were "were" instead of what it is above, "is"?
If the verb were "were", the sentence wouldn't make sense (to me). Here is the reason (as I see it):

John Doe is either right or wrong. His being right or wrong is not a matter of actions in the world. John Doe is not actually doing anything. There is nothing hypothetical about whether John Doe will do this or will do that, as in, for example,

If John Doe were to tell a lie, that would make me very sad.
(If John Doe told a lie, that would make me very sad.)

In this case John has a choice. It is a matter of his exercising his will to say one thing or another, and it makes sense to speculate about whether he will tell the truth or whether he will lie. That action of his actually triggers my sadness.

But when it's a matter of truth, there is no choice. The only thing that can happen is that we find out in the course of time that a given statement is true or that it's false. Either it was true before we learned about it -- and continues to be true -- or it was false before we learned about it -- and continues to be false. Truth is considered to be timeless. And the present tense is the tense in English for presenting timeless situations.

The pattern that we are discussing here is a mixed conditional. The if clause has the present tense, and the main clause has would. In these cases the if clause contains the idea that some proposition may be or may turn out to be or may be revealed to be true (or false) or, what is equivalent, that someone's idea may be correct (or not).

Here are some examples I found on the internet, some slightly modified for purposes of illustration:

If Baroness Greenfield is right, it would be irresponsible to promote the over-use of the internet in schools.
And if the opposite is true, it would be irresponsible not to.
If their theory is true, the “right guy” for me would be a lunatic who isn't nice at all.

If that turns out to be nonsense, I would be the happiest person alive!
If Boertmann is correct, Hygrocybe chlorophana would be the preferred name for that organism.
If Buber is right, then we would be justified in suspecting that a good deal of absurdity is taking place.


This also explains the first sentence at the top of this thread. The discussion got off from that pattern during the course of the thread and onto a different use of would, as in That would make sense. I would think so. I would assume. That would be a good idea.That's just the nature of discussions. They wander from one thing to another. I hope I haven't made things too confusing for you. Emotion: smile