Choice Between “Would Believe” and “Believed”

Alexander2

Senior Member
Russian
Can someone explain why the text below says “would believe” instead of “believed”?

Would it be correct to say “Did I not tell you that if you believed …” instead of “Did I not tell you that if you would believe …”?

John 11:25-27, 38-44 states: “Jesus said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone who is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all. Do you believe this?” She said to him: “Yes, Lord, I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” … Then Jesus, after groaning again within himself, came to the tomb. It was, in fact, a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said: “Take the stone away.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to him: “Lord, by now he must smell, for it has been four days.” Jesus said to her: “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” So they took the stone away. Then Jesus raised his eyes heavenward and said: “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. True, I knew that you always hear me; but I spoke on account of the crowd standing around, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice: “Lazarus, come out!” The man who had been dead came out with his feet and hands bound with wrappings, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them: “Free him and let him go.””
 
  • Alexander2

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you.
    Direct speech: “If you believe, this will happen.”
    Reported speech: “I told you that if you believed, that would happen.”
    Reported speech: “I told you that if you would believe, that would happen.”

    Direct speech: “If you do this, a certain outcome will follow.”
    Reported speech: “I told you that if you did that, a certain outcome would follow.”
    Reported speech: “I told you that if you would do that, a certain outcome would follow.”

    Is whether to add “would” or not a matter of choice, so that both options are correct in the above examples and in the quotation given in the first post?
     

    grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    The original sentence in direct speech would be "If you will believe, you will see the glory of God". That makes it two different uses of 'will'.
     

    Alexander2

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The original sentence in direct speech would be "If you will believe, you will see the glory of God". That makes it two different uses of 'will'.
    I was not aware of such usage, because I had always though that the conditional preposition "if" is to be followed by a verb without "will." Is "will" usually added to emphasize the willingness on the part of a person to do the action mentioned in the sentence?
     

    Alexander2

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you. There are many subtleties and distinctions in the language which a learner is not immediately aware of. I can see now that the verb "will" can be used after "if" and "when" in instances like the ones above.
     
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