EN: we could do whatever we want / wanted

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by HenryPez, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. HenryPez Member

    french
    Hello everybody,

    I'm watching Groundhog Day, the famous film with Bill Murray. I'm stuck on a dialogue where maybe you can help me.
    Here is the extract:

    - Let me ask you guys a question. What if there were no tomorrow?
    - No tomorrow? That would mean there would be no consequences. There would be no hangovers. We could do whatever we wanted!
    - That's true. We could do whatever we want.


    My first question is about the difference between :
    a- we could do whatever we wanted.
    b- we could do whatever we want.

    do you have to use the preterite when you use COULD ? Is there a mistake in one of those sentences?

    […]

    thank you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2013
  2. ThéophileErnoult New Member

    French
    Les deux phrases ont pour moi ces deux traductions :

    a - On pourrait faire tout ce que l'on voudrait
    b - On pourrait faire tout ce que l'on veut

    Elles veulent globalement dire la même chose et ce n'est PAS une faute ;)
     
  3. Romainmath New Member

    Français
    Dans la plupart des propositions subordonnées (après when(ever), until, if, who, as soon as etc.)on n'emploie pas le futur ou le conditionnel.
    On emploie le prétérit à la place du conditionnel présent:
    -I'd help anyone who asked me (et non: who would ask me)
    De même, à la place du conditionnel passé, on emploie le pluperfect:
    - He said he would do it when he had received my letter (et non when he would have...)

    Donc "we could do whatever we wanted = on pourrait faire ce que l'on voudrait" et "we could do whatever we want" signifie simplement on pourrait faire ce que l'on veut comme l'a dit ThéophileErnoult.
     

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