Anything wrong with this:

She would be about seventy when she died. I really miss her.

You might hear people say something like that, but only in conversation, sort of "thinking out loud". People often do not say all of the bits of a verb that you would need in writing!

You are likely to hear it pronounced like this though:

"She'd a bin about" 

meaning she would have been about ..


It isn't exactly correct, you were probably going for:

She would have been about seventy when she died.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
1 2 3
She was about seventy when she died. .......

as far as I know ' would be ' is for the futureEmotion: smile
 suzi's reply was promoted to an answer.
Only for the future?

She would be about sixty now.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.

Do you mean in only in the "conversational registers"? Many of the texts below do seem to be conversational.

I would be about 10 or 11 years old, and the biological urge was beginning to stir in my blood, though, truthfully, I had my first sexual intercourse at the age of 19.
Harlow Study Centre: interview (Leisure). Recorded on [date unknown] with 3 participants, totalling 8002 words, 631 utterances (duration not recorded).
that would be about fifteen years ago

The Penguin history of Greece. Burn, A A. London: Penguin Group, 1990, pp. 126-245.

At best, he would be about sixty-five when he returned; but he did not return.
Oral history project: interview (Leisure). Recorded on [date unknown] with 3 participants, totalling 4678 words, 384 utterances (duration not recorded).
PS29U (`William', male, 72, farmer, Scottish):

Oh that would be about the nineteen thirties.
It seems that two of these sources ARE transcripts of conversation. I'd think only relevant to distinguish a style as "conversational" when it started life as a written form. These 2 examples started out as spoken forms.

As for the notion of future, for the original poster, it seems your answer is that "would be" is used more flexibly than grammar guides can indicate, especially in converstational contexts.

That's got me a little confused. Could you expand on it?


Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
@ milky - I was responding to how you use the term conversational register.

My use of the word "register" is perhaps a bit narrower than yours. I would only say "this is conversational register" when describing the style of a piece of WRITING. It seems slightly redundant to classfiy spoken material as converstional "register" - it just IS conversation.

I then went on to say that 2 of the sources you quote are from oral records, therefore ARE conversations. Therefore I wouldn't use the word register to define them further! That's all! sorry if i confused you!
Would you term business presentations, university lectures and political speeches as conversation?
Show more