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A: I don’t know what language this is. I think Jack would understand it. He is a linguist.
B: I think Jack would know the answer of your question. You should ask him.

Are they second conditional woulds? What kind of would is in sentence A and B?

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Comments  (Page 3) 

I see you asked an identical question on this website: https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/threads/would.294388/

I also see that you have been banned from that site!!

Persian Learner
EverestCTSAren’t the woulds in my original sentences below would of probability? Or are they second conditionals?

Would of 'probability', as they stand.

My first interpretation of 'would' in the given sentences is 'most likely/very likely'.

He is very likely to know the answer.

You could use second conditionals to offer advice politely:

A: Jack is a linguist. He would help you if you asked him. ~ (Why don't you ask Jack?)

B: Great! Is he available on WhatsApp?

But this just borrows the second-conditional structure for politeness.

At any rate, 'would' expresses a distance from reality; the context should tell us how distant it is.

The second conditional sentences also use this property of 'would' to express improbable/hypothetical conditions. But it's still about probability! Some conditions can only be imagined to be met in your mind! Some of them are unlikely but possible, and some are used in an artificial way, like in offering advice or polite requests. Degrees of probability/possibility could also differ in the if-clauses:

If I were you, ...

If he was alive, ...

If he was in Poland, ...

If you did a PhD degree, ...

If you you went to Turkey, ...

If you helped your brother, ...

If you asked him, ...


However, what is common among all uses of 'would' is taking distance from reality to create a desired sense. If it is used for politeness or willingness, it is still dealing with this taking distance from reality to produce those effects. Let context tell you what degree of probability it carries instead of taking a magnifier looking for implied if-clauses; when an if-clause is implied, it is implicitly yelling at you that it's there, and then there's no need for unearthing it!

Hi Persian Learner,


When you said would expresses a distance from reality, are you only talking about conditional/hypothetical would or would of probability as well? Thanks.

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EverestCTSHi Persian Learner,When you said would expresses a distance from reality, are you only talking about conditional/hypothetical would or would of probability as well? Thanks.

Hi.

'hypothetical' means based on possible ideas, not based on completely real or certain ideas. By 'distance from reality' I meant you're not 100% sure/certain about what you articulate; after all, 'would' is the past form of 'will' and when used for present or future times, it conveys a degree of distance from reality, but the degree varies based on the function of 'would' in the sentence.

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Persian Learner
EverestCTSHi Persian Learner,When you said would expresses a distance from reality, are you only talking about conditional/hypothetical would or would of probability as well? Thanks.

Hi.

'hypothetical' means based on possible ideas, not based on completely real or certain ideas. By 'distance from reality' I meant you're not 100% sure/certain about what you articulate; after all, 'would' is the past form of 'will' and when used for present or future times, it conveys a degree of distance from reality, but the degree varies based on the function of 'would' in the sentence.

Hi Persian Learner,

Let me ask you a direct question instead.

A: I think Jack would know the answer to your question. Ask him.

Does the bold would express distance from reality?

EverestCTSLet me ask you a direct question instead.A: I think Jack would know the answer to your question. Ask him. Does the bold would express distance from reality?

Yes, a minor sense of distance from present reality to create the desired effect: in all likelihood; otherwise it would be 'will'.

Persian Learner
EverestCTSWhen you use would of probability in sentences, do you get any sense of conditional mood at all in your mind as you say these sentences with would of probability? Or not at all?

It's not until the context calling for a conditional that I start to consider it.


Hi Persian Learner,


Is it correct to say that if it’s not implicitly yelling at you that there is some implied condition, that would is would of probability not hypothetical/conditional?

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