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Salaam!

He would go.

That's it; that's the sentence. How would you interpret the tense in a short sentence like this?

I guess we should simply assume it is present tense in such instances. Suppose there are other words like, 'They persuaded him so that he would go.' In this case, because 'persuaded' is past, would also functions as past of will. Otherwise, would, might, should etc. (except could) must be treated as present tense. Could alone is the exception. He could go is both present (he is able to go) and past tense (he was able to go).

Is my understanding right?
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He would go.

Too many questions to digest in one gulp.

Of course, context is everything.

As a stand-alone, I take it as describing habitual behavior. He was always taking off.
My sentence is past continuous, but I've heard a rumor that modals don't have tenses.

The second most likely is as an answer to an "if" question:
What do you think he would do if he found out his wife has/had been unfaithful?

There was an analysis on EF recently explaining that "would" is an auxilliary, requiring the infinitive. So we have a sentence with no finite verb. Emotion: it wasnt me

Edit. I suppose this is nothing.
He had gone.
This is an auxilliary and a participle. Neither is a finite verb. But the combination is a recognized finite tense.
Speculation is a poor substitute for actual context. As it stands, it means nothing to me, and it might take pages to offer all the possible meanings in context.
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PhilipSpeculation is a poor substitute for actual context. As it stands, it means nothing to me, and it might take pages to offer all the possible meanings in context.
Well said. [Y]
Salaam Philip,

I don't mean to speculate. "He would/should/might/must go" could mean either present or future, but never the past (as stand-alone sentences). But "he could go" could mean either past (as in 'he was able to go') or present/future (as in 'he would be able to go').

All I am saying is, only 'could' could refer to any tense as a stand-alone sentence. Others can never refer to the past unless there are other clauses (in past tense).

Regards,
Anonymous"He would/should/might/must go" could mean either present or future, but never the past (as stand-alone sentences). ... only 'could' could refer to any tense as a stand-alone sentence. Others can never refer to the past unless there are other clauses (in past tense).
No. would, like could, can be taken as an indicator of a past situation, even without other clauses.

1. Similar to used to to show habitual activity: He would often act like a fool.
2. Similar to was going to or was to to show an ultimate result: Later he would become a famous chef.
3. In the negative to indicate failure or refusal: The car would not start.

You are probably right about should, might, and must, however, unless they are combined with have.

She might as well have talked to a wall.

CJ
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Avangiexplaining that "would" is an auxilliary, requiring the infinitive. So we have a sentence with no finite verb.
All modals are finite. They have no non-finite forms at all. Being an auxiliary by no means disqualifies a verb from being finite.

Emotion: geeked

CJ
Salaam Jim, thanks for clearing that up. Is would in your examples used as past tense of will? Are the sentences in your example considered past narrative?
AnonymousIs would in your examples used as past tense of will? ... past narrative?
Yes. You may substitute will for would in those examples if you want the corresponding present tense situations.

CJ
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