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    would have no memory

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    Yes. He did look like Aniuta. But it was the Aniuta of later days to whom he bore a resemblance. The tired sullen droop to the eyelids, the skeptical - in him scornful - curl to the full lips. There was not a sign of the golden-haired girl with her hunger for danger, for righteous glory, her bursts of wild invective. Of that creature Urey would have no memory, only of a sick woman, shapeless, asthmatic, cancerous, declaring herself eager of death.

    (Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness)

    (Annotation: Urey is the son of Sophia Kovalevsky's deceased sister Aniuta)


    Hello everyone,

    I wonder what would have expresses in this context. Is it conditional (no), habit (no), future in the past (?) or does it express opinion (?) or conjecture ? In my opinion, it's supposed to express possibility or rather the opposite in this context. But can would express possibility? It's a mystery to me actually. Please help. Thanks in advance.


    (Please post in English)

    Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  08 Dec 22, 23:56
    Comment

    For context: are these Sophia's thoughts on (first?) seeing Urey?

    #1AuthorHecuba - UK (250280)  09 Dec 22, 00:48
    Comment

    I think it is best analyzed as an implicit conditional: (if you asked Urey about that creature) ...Urey would have no memory.

    #2Author Martin--cal (272273) 09 Dec 22, 02:07
    Comment

    (deleted - remark intended for a different thread)

    #3Author Martin--cal (272273)  09 Dec 22, 02:11
    Comment

    @ #1: Hello Hecuba--UK, thank you. No, I don't think so, but it seems to me from reading the former text Sophia hasn't seen him for a long time.

    I have got a new idea, though: This would could express probability. Maybe this works in this context.

    Martin--cal's implicit conditional sounds good to me as well. Probability and implicit conditional seem to be the same here?

    #4Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  09 Dec 22, 09:13
    Comment

    #4 Thanks, keeblerelf.


    Yes, I think probability is a good suggestion.


    The Cambridge dictionary gives an example:


    would modal verb (PROBABILITY)

    [...] used to refer to what is very likely:

    "The guy on the phone had a Southern accent." "That would be Tom."

    https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/e...


    Collins:

    4. modal verbYou use would, or would have with a past participle, to indicate that you are assuming or guessing that something is true, because you have good reasons for thinking it.

    You wouldn't know him.

    His fans would already be familiar with Caroline.

    That would have been Della's car.

    He made a promise to his great-grandfather? That would have been a long time ago.

    [...]

    https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/...

    #5AuthorHecuba - UK (250280)  09 Dec 22, 10:34
    Comment

    Thank you very much to both of you. I much appreciate your help :)

    #6Authorkeeblerelf (908281) 09 Dec 22, 17:16
    Comment

    Agree that it's something like a (mis-)use of the conditional, because it is in fact a certainty.


    There are a lot of idiomatic usages of 'would' like this in English; the most common in everyday speech is probably something like "You wouldn't get it" or "Of course, you wouldn't understand."


    I suppose here one could imagine a scenario in which the person who is the source of these perceptions could be contradicted by Urey -- she could say "well, of course, you wouldn't know what your mother looked like when she was young, before you were born" and he could respond "In fact I do, I've seen lots of photos."

    #7Author Lonelobo (595126) 12 Dec 22, 08:27
     
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