Igor
What is the usage of "would" here? In "Get Rid of your Accent" course there are a lot of rhymes, tricky sentences, chunks of quotations, and so on to make your articulation work. In one of the pieces, I still can't completely grab the point of using the modal verb "would". What are your thoughts about it here: "We are blind, and we would see; We are bound, and we would be free; We are dumb, and we would talk; We are lame, and we would walk."
Nov 2, 2018 5:25 PM
Answers · 16
'would' is used to express a desire or wish, rather than a certainty. 'Will" can't be used because that shows that the speaker is certain an event will in fact happen in the future.
November 2, 2018
Haha, perhaps like some other native speakers, I figured this was from the Bible. It's actually from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, "Princess Ida," which was written in the late 1800s. https://www.gsarchive.net/princess_ida/webop/pi_09.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Ida In my opinion, it's not to be taken seriously as a means of learning modern English.
November 2, 2018
That's not a normal usage of would. It's used like that in old poetry and books, but that's all. It means 'want to/wish to/desire to' or something like that. :)
November 2, 2018
I can't be 100 % sure, but the simplest explanation seems to be that it's a part of conditional statements. You'd begin by "If we did something, we would see." It's a poetic form, in any case, and the part with "If we did something" would be implicit. But if it were written out completely, it could read as "We are blind, and if we looked inside ourselves, we would see".
November 2, 2018
I agree with the previous answer: would' is used to express a desire or wish, rather than a certainty. For example, We are dumb, and we would talk means We are dumb, and we wish to talk or We are dumb, and we would like to talk - Sometimes in poetry, "would" means "would like". Example, I just met a very beautiful girl, I would see her again... Which means I would like to see her again...
November 2, 2018
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Igor
Language Skills
English, Greek, Japanese, Mongolian, Russian
Learning Language
English