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Dmitry Elle
Abnormal using or Would Maybe I'm exaggerating about an abnormality of would, but I find this sentence a little weird: I'm the one that gave him the astronaut helmet he wouldn't take off for two years. Here we have a speaker who gave the boy an astronaut helmet which he literally didn't take off for two years. It's known for sure that period of time when it happened is over. The boy doesn't have an astronaut helmet anymore. Therefore, the sentence must be like this: I'm the one that gave him the astronaut helmet he didn't take off for two years. Can someone help me with this difficulty? It is possible that the speaker is telling about the boy's desire to not take off the helmet in case if he would have this thing right now?
Sep 17, 2018 5:28 PM
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Answers · 30
You and eshan are correct, but there is another angle which you both missed. The modal verb 'will' serves several purposes, one of which is to indicate willingness or intention, another is to form the future tense. "I will not eat beetroot" could either be a refusal, or it could simply be a prediction about the future. The past tense of 'will' is 'would' and, as such, it has these same two purposes in the past: it can describe an intention (for two years, the boy refused to remove the helmet) or a prediction about the future relative to the past time being described. The latter use is quite common: for example, "When I left home that morning, I feared that I would never see my father again". This example clearly doesn't relate to an intention, I loved him a lot! Your sentence could be read in either way, but when I read it I interpreted it as 'future relative to the past', I think because I would have used an unambiguous and more emphatic wording if I had wanted to focus on the boy's intentions.
September 17, 2018
Re. racing, winning and delay, these are both references to the future. Try rewriting them into the present tense, and for both, 'would' becomes 'will', they are both talking about the future from now. To me they do not belong in different linguistic categories. I'm wondering if Russian would treat these differently. In Spanish, for example, statements of doubt and ignorance use a grammatically different verb form, the subjunctive, which would apply to 'be unaware' here, whereas a statement of confidence would use the indicative. I don't know if there is anything like this in Russian, the good news is that in English we don't bother.
September 18, 2018
I agree with Jimmy. My first reading of this is "would" as the future in the past. First reading - I gave him the helmet that he would not take off until two years later. It is plausible to read "would not" as "refuse." Alternate reading - I gave him the helmet that he refused to take off until two years later.
September 17, 2018
You're correct in your interpretation, and to me both sentences sound equally correct. By saying "he wouldn't" you are in a sense implying that he didn't want to, which is slightly different than "he didn't". But either way you're expressing the same thing. Also, the speaker here is very unlikely to have been saying that the child *literally* didn't take the helmet off for two years, it just means the child was very fond of it for that period of time and wore it as often as he could.
September 17, 2018
там или "не снимал бы" или нож не режет = it won't cut только в прошлом
September 17, 2018
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Dmitry Elle
Language Skills
English, Russian
Learning Language
English