I would thou wert

TroubleEnglish

Senior Member
Russian
Does any of you understand this sentence?

I would thou wert so happy by thy stay

I took it from Romeo and Juliet.

I would want ...

I would hate ...

I would think ...


Or what?

And what is the difference between

Thou wast
Thou wert

I also read there was a possibility to say:

Thou were

Is it true or no?
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I would thou wert so happy by thy stay
    If you are going to quote a sentence - quote the whole sentence, and give some context.

    It is essential to understand that, without context, even Modern English can be incomprehensible.

    Lord Montague and his wife (Romeo's parents) are speaking with their nephew Benvolio (Romeo's friend and cousin) about Romeo's apparent depression when Romeo approaches them. Benvolio asks his uncle Montague to leave as Benvolio wants to know what is troubling Romeo:

    Just before Lord Montague leaves, he says
    Montague: "I would thou wert so happy by thy stay to hear true shrift."

    I don't think that many people would understand it without an explanation - mainly because of the word "shrift" and "by thy stay". However, once the explanation had been given they would understand why it has the meaning that it does.
     
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    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    If you are going to quote a sentence - quote the whole sentence, and give some context.

    It is essential to understand that, without context, even Modern English can be incomprehensible.

    Lord Montague and his wife (Romeo's parents) are speaking with their nephew Benvolio (Romeo's friend and cousin) about Romeo's apparent depression when Romeo approaches them. Benvolio asks his uncle Montague to leave as Benvolio wants to know what is troubling Romeo:

    Just before Lord Montague leaves, he says
    Montague: "I would thou wert so happy by thy stay to hear true shrift."

    I don't think that many people would understand it without an explanation - mainly because of the word "shrift" and "by thy stay". However, once the explanation had been given they would understand why it has the meaning that it does.
    But isn't it missing a verb between "would" and "thou"?

    And also, can we say:

    Benvolio asks his uncle Montague to leave as Benvolio wants to know what is troubling Romeo:

    like

    Benvolio asks his uncle Montague to leave because Benvolio wants to know what is troubling Romeo ?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    And what is the difference between

    Thou wast
    Thou wert
    "Wert" appears to have supplanted "wast" as the past indicative, perhaps the most famous example being in To a Skylark by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1820):
    Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
    Bird thou never wert,
    That from Heaven, or near it,
    Pourest thy full heart
    In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.​

    However, the translators of the Authorised Version of the Bible (1611) used "wast" for the past indicative and "wert" for the past subjunctive:
    Who told thee that thou wast naked? [Genesis 3:11]
    I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. [Revelation 3:15]​
    It is the past subjunctive that you have in the quote from Romeo and Juliet.

    But isn't it missing a verb between "would" and "thou"?
    No. "Will" is a main verb, meaning desire or wish for. OED marks it as obsolete.

    <Removed because this question has now got its own thread. Nat>
     
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    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    "Wert" appears to have supplanted "wast" as the past indicative, perhaps the most famous example being in To a Skylark by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1820):
    Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
    Bird thou never wert,
    That from Heaven, or near it,
    Pourest thy full heart
    In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.​

    However, the translators of the Authorised Version of the Bible (1611) used "wast" for the past indicative and "wert" for the past subjunctive:
    Who told thee that thou wast naked? [Genesis 3:11]
    I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. [Revelation 3:15]​
    It is the past subjunctive that you have in the quote from Romeo and Juliet.

    No. "Will" is a main verb, meaning desire or wish for. OED marks it as obsolete.

    <Removed because this question has now got its own thread. Nat>
    I suppose it survives in the phrase 'if you will'.
    You mean we have "will" which is like "want" or "wish"? And in the past "will" will be "would"?

    I wish you were here - I will you were here

    We can say in the past:

    I wished you had been here - I would you had been here

    So, "wert" = "had been" ?

    If so, why do they say:

    I would thou wert here

    and not

    I would thou hadst been here ?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Will" is not a direct replacement for "wish"; the two words are used differently, and in any case OED says "wish for". However, the most noticeable difference is with tense, and "I wish you were here" becomes "I would you were here", with "will" matching the tense of "be".

    Regarding the subjunctive "wert", in modern English, we may still use the past subjunctive in this situation ("I wish he were here"), although these days the past indicative is often used instead, in BrE at any rate ("I wish he was here").

    There is nothing wrong with "I would thou hadst been here", but it refers to a time in the past. "I would thou wert here" refers to now.
     

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    "Will" is not a direct replacement for "wish"; the two words are used differently, and in any case OED says "wish for". However, the most noticeable difference is with tense, and "I wish you were here" becomes "I would you were here", with "will" matching the tense of "be".

    Regarding the subjunctive "wert", in modern English, we may still use the past subjunctive in this situation ("I wish he were here"), although these days the past indicative is often used instead, in BrE at any rate ("I wish he was here").

    There is nothing wrong with "I would thou hadst been here", but it refers to a time in the past. "I would thou wert here" refers to now.
    How is

    I would you were here

    being understood?

    Like

    I want you to be here?

    or like

    I wanted you to be here?

    And can this phrase be used now, in the modern English? Does it have sense or you gave just an analogy of what it was like before mixing Early English and the current one?

    Just it's strange for me to use "would" with no other verbs. The "would" itself has always been like a link verb for me, which has another verb like:

    I would like you

    I would hate you

    I would wait for you


    But there it's missing.

    Can I say then:

    I would you were here = I wished you were here, if "would" is the past form of something or i dunno what...:D
     

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    There's more to it: you are not here and I am sorry that you aren't; I'd like you to be here.

    I want you to be here can mean I wish you to come (in the future).
    I completely fathom

    I want you to be here

    and

    I wish you to come

    I don't fathom:

    I would you were here

    Is it used in the curernt English? What is the verb "would" in the modern English with such usage?

    Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel, it's possible to paint the text! Wooow! I shall use it...:D

    P.S. But the smile collection is disastrously poor...
     

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It's an archaic form which hasn't been used for centuries. In modern English you'd say I wish you were here.
    I adore everything what hasn't been availed of for centuries...:D

    But okay, if you equal

    I would you were here

    to

    I wish you were here

    What analogy would be for

    I wished you had been here ?:eek:
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I haven’t read all the above (life’s too short), but in case it hasn’t already been said, I would ;) point out that the use of would to mean “I wish” normally does not state a subject – it’s like saying “if only”.

    Would that that were true! (= I wish/if only it were)

    Would that she had known (= I wish/if only she had)

    Would that I could be of more help (= I wish/if only I could)​
     

    AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    I haven’t read all the above (life’s too short), but in case it hasn’t already been said, I would ;) point out that the use of would to mean “I wish” normally does not state a subject – it’s like saying “if only”.

    Would that that were true! (= I wish/if only it were)

    Would that she had known (= I wish/if only she had)

    Would that I could be of more help (= I wish/if only I could)​
    :thumbsup:
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I haven’t read all the above (life’s too short), but in case it hasn’t already been said, I would ;) point out that the use of would to mean “I wish” normally does not state a subject – it’s like saying “if only”.

    Would that that were true! (= I wish/if only it were)

    Would that she had known (= I wish/if only she had)

    Would that I could be of more help (= I wish/if only I could)​
    I agree and would just point out that these are still used modern English, though not very often and perhaps only in mock-heroic statements. But I've certainly said on occasions, with the back of my hand to my forehead: "Ah, would it were only true!"
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm sure I'm not the only one here to remember Robert Robinson in the TV quiz Ask the Family. He was fond of saying 'Ah, would that it were' to the occasional wrong answer.
     

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I haven’t read all the above (life’s too short), but in case it hasn’t already been said, I would ;) point out that the use of would to mean “I wish” normally does not state a subject – it’s like saying “if only”.

    Would that that were true! (= I wish/if only it were)

    Would that she had known (= I wish/if only she had)

    Would that I could be of more help (= I wish/if only I could)​
    I agree and would just point out that these are still used modern English, though not very often and perhaps only in mock-heroic statements. But I've certainly said on occasions, with the back of my hand to my forehead: "Ah, would it were only true!"
    I'm sure I'm not the only one here to remember Robert Robinson in the TV quiz Ask the Family. He was fond of saying 'Ah, would that it were' to the occasional wrong answer.

    My nick hasn't been made out the way it is in vain...

    1) But I want to know if this "would" is just remembered by all of you like "I wish\If only" without any explanations why it's constructed thus and so on or it is just a Past Tense for some archaic "wish"?

    2) If

    I would you were here = I wish you were here
    ????????????????????? = I wished you had been here
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It meant “I wish”. Here’s an example cited in the OED, in a section whose heading includes the note: an expression of longing = ‘I wish’, ‘O that’ :

    1885 Tennyson Charge Heavy Brigade Epil. in Tiresia & Other Poems 165
    I would that wars should cease, I would the globe from end to end Might sow and reap in peace.​
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Most educated people know what archaic language means after years of exposure to language and literature, and in many cases, serious study. That doesn't mean we can talk it or explain it anymore then most native speakers have any idea about the grammar of modern English despite using it correctly.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Would that it were is far from obsolete.

    There are 7 current examples in the British Corpus: 3 orally in meetings, 2 from works of fiction, 1 from Hansard, and so spoken in Parliament, and this example from a book on mountaineering:

    It is the place to go if you are staying in the valley and want a swimming-pool or a tennis-court, but hardly recommendable for anything more serious. The ski resort as such is not down in the valley at all, would that it were; rather, it is perched to devastatingly conspicuous effect on the side of a mountain to the west, up to which you can go either by car along a new road or by cable-car from the centre of Saint-Lar
    y. The French Pyrenees. Sturrock, J. London: Faber & Faber Ltd, 1988.

    There are 33 examples in the American Corpus, and I can think of one in the Coen Brothers' Hail Caesar in which Ralph Fiennes famously tries to teach Alden Ehrenreich how to say Would that it were so simple, without much success.
     

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It meant “I wish”. Here’s an example cited in the OED, in a section whose heading includes the note: an expression of longing = ‘I wish’, ‘O that’ :

    1885 Tennyson Charge Heavy Brigade Epil. in Tiresia & Other Poems 165
    I would that wars should cease, I would the globe from end to end Might sow and reap in peace.​
    Would that it were is far from obsolete.

    There are 7 current examples in the British Corpus: 3 orally in meetings, 2 from works of fiction, 1 from Hansard, and so spoken in Parliament, and this example from a book on mountaineering:

    It is the place to go if you are staying in the valley and want a swimming-pool or a tennis-court, but hardly recommendable for anything more serious. The ski resort as such is not down in the valley at all, would that it were; rather, it is perched to devastatingly conspicuous effect on the side of a mountain to the west, up to which you can go either by car along a new road or by cable-car from the centre of Saint-Lar
    y. The French Pyrenees. Sturrock, J. London: Faber & Faber Ltd, 1988.

    There are 33 examples in the American Corpus, and I can think of one in the Coen Brothers' Hail Caesar in which Ralph Fiennes famously tries to teach Alden Ehrenreich how to say Would that it were so simple, without much success.

    Fine, if

    I would = I wish

    Will it be fair to claim:

    I will would this = I will wish this
     
    "Would that" is a phrase used to express a strong wish or desire. Although in other contexts, "I would" can be used as the subjunctive, conditional or even the simple past tense of "I will", it seems to have a stand-alone meaning in this usage.

    "Wert" is the second person singular subjunctive of the verb "to be". Like all second personal singular verbs, it is no longer used in Modern English, except perhaps in some BrE regional accents or dialects.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It's just like "I would rather you were here", but without the "rather" (which means something like "instead"). "Would" is past tense of "will" (as in "if you will"/"if the good Lord will"/etc.), but the meaning here is not past time but conditional, like "could" in "I could get used to that" meaning not "I was able to" but "I would be able to".

    [If I could have whatever I would/wished] I would [wish] you were here.
     

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It's just like "I would rather you were here", but without the "rather" (which means something like "instead"). "Would" is past tense of "will" (as in "if you will"/"if the good Lord will"/etc.), but the meaning here is not past time but conditional, like "could" in "I could get used to that" meaning not "I was able to" but "I would be able to".

    [If I could have whatever I would/wished] I would [wish] you were here.
    Well, I really like your explanation because it's openig this mystery for me of "would".

    Just if we say "would" with something we want to do like:

    I would do it

    I would have it

    I would sing it


    I understand it, because we have some verb going after "would". But saying it without the verb like:

    I would it

    is a nonsense for me. I would what it?

    I would do it?

    or

    I would have it?

    or

    I would sing it?

    "Would rather" is a catastrophe, too. I personally don't see any verb here. For me it's like:

    I woud better it

    What better it?

    Would better do it

    Would better have it

    Would better sing it?

    What would better?


    If it's

    I would rather do it.

    It's okay. When it's

    I would rather you were here

    It's sad because I see it like

    I would better you were here ...

    But if you say:

    I would [wish] you were here.

    This is how it's really perceived by people or it's only your attempt to explain it somehow to me?

    If "would" is an official and known by everybody contraction for "would wish", then I can sleep placidly, if not - it's the Trouble Enlgish
     

    AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    If you want to be understood, you should not use "would" as you describe. Stick to normal, contemporary English.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If "would" is an official and known by everybody contraction for "would wish", then I can sleep placidly, if not - it's the Trouble Enlgish
    I think I might cause you some sleeplessness . . .

    I would wish you were here. :cross:
    I would you were here. :cross:
    I wish you were here. :tick:

    As AnythingGoes says, stick to normal, contemporary English.
     

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I think I might cause you some sleeplessness . . .

    I would wish you were here. :cross:
    I would you were here. :cross:
    I wish you were here. :tick:

    As AnythingGoes says, stick to normal, contemporary English.
    And what's wrong with

    I would wish you were here

    It just doesn't "sound" or it is grammatically incorrect?

    Why is

    I do

    completely normal,

    So is

    I would do

    So is:

    I wish

    but not

    I would wish ?

    I am feeling completely unhappy. 96% rules in English are explained with "because it's so". I don't know who is guilty: either I being Russian and having grammar which has very meticulous explanation for 96% of the language or I not being American and thinking that English grammar has logic because of not knowing of existince of other languages like Russian grammar... I've started saying recently: "If you are happy and have no problem - start learning English, it's the perfect way to improve your depression."I am a perfectionist and I want to see the precise explanation to everything... Thinking about how to find some solutions of English grammar problems you start thinking of the permanent solution of a temporal problem.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    But if you say:

    I would [wish] you were here.

    This is how it's really perceived by people or it's only your attempt to explain it somehow to me?
    In broad terms, in Old English, there were no purely modal verbs You could say such things as
    "I can Latin, I learned it at the monastery." Today we must say "I can write Latin, I learned it at the monastery."
    And
    "I will a horse to take me to London." Today we must say "I want/wish a horse to take me to London."

    This use of will had a past tense
    He wants some apples -> He will some apples
    He wanted some apples -> He would some apples
    I am feeling completely unhappy. 96% rules in English are explained with "because it's so".
    This is because you believe that there are "rules" in English. (See my signature.) Thinking that there are "rules" is like thinking that there are fairies - it is not very helpful and you need to find the real explanation for all that gold on your table.

    There is a reason for everything but it often takes a lot of research (i) to find that reason and (ii) why that reason works in one case, and not in another.
     
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    AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    And what's wrong with

    I would wish you were here
    The listener expects you to tell us under what conditions you would wish that, as in I would wish you were here if you were somewhere else. That's a consequence of an implicit rule of syntax, I suppose. As a native speaker, I don't know how these rules are taught to learners.

    I'm pretty sure the same process applies to Russian learners: native speakers may have studied Russian grammar in school, but they're unlikely to know it well enough to explain why they choose to say something one way rather than another, or why a seemingly-logical sentence doesn't work.
     

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In broad terms, in Old English, there were no purely modal verbs You could say such things as
    "I can Latin, I learned it at the monastery." Today we must say "I can write Latin, I learned it at the monastery."
    And
    "I will a horse to take me to London." Today we must say "I want/wish a horse to take me to London."

    This use of will had a past tense
    He wants some apples -> He will some apples
    He wanted some apples -> He would some apples
    This is because you believe that there are "rules" in English. (See my signature.) Thinking that there are "rules" is like thinking that there are fairies - it is not very helpful and you need to find the real explanation.

    There is a reason for everything, but it often takes a lot of research to find that reason and why that reason works in one case, and not in another.
    I found this:

    a. To decide on or intend: He can finish the race if he wills it.

    in will .

    We can change it for:

    To decide on or intend: He can finish the race if he wants it.

    Then there is no need to say:

    "I want/wish a horse to take me to London."

    instead of

    "I will a horse to take me to London."

    If we can replace 'will" with "want" or "wish" it makes everything easier.

    I completely understand the sentence:

    I want a horse to go somewhere.

    I wish a car to drive


    Then we can imagine our already favorite phrase:

    Would you were here

    like

    (I) would you were here (I forgot you could drop the noun)

    this can be imagined liked

    I wanted you were here

    But now I am having a different question:

    If even now we can use "will" like "want", can we say:

    I willed the car to drive ?

    Or it will be "would".

    I mean "would" is used for "will" like the auxiliary verb - "will" or even for the usual verb - "will" which is like "want"

    The listener expects you to tell us under what conditions you would wish that, as in I would wish you were here if you were somewhere else. That's a consequence of an implicit rule of syntax, I suppose. As a native speaker, I don't know how these rules are taught to learners.

    I'm pretty sure the same process applies to Russian learners: native speakers may have studied Russian grammar in school, but they're unlikely to know it well enough to explain why they choose to say something one way rather than another, or why a seemingly-logical sentence doesn't work.
    No, no, no I don't care what the listener thinks at all. Just really really at all. I caer only about grammar.

    Is

    I would wish you were here

    gramatically correct or no? Or in theory, doesn't matter?

    I think if we imagine it now, seeing "would" like a special word for the subjunctive mood - "would", then it's perfectly perfect.

    If we imagine it in the Middle Early English, it's not grammatically correct, because it's like:

    I wanted wish you were here
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Then there is no need to say:

    "I want/wish a horse to take me to London."

    instead of

    "I will a horse to take me to London."
    Yes there is. We would never say 'I will a horse to take me to London.'

    I completely understand the sentence:

    I want a horse to go somewhere.

    I wish a car to drive
    I don't. What do you mean by the first sentence? Do you want the horse to move to somewhere else, or do you want a horse so that you can ride it somewhere?

    What do you mean by 'I wish a car to drive'?

    No, no, no I don't care what the listener thinks at all.
    But you should. What's the point of speaking/writing if the listener/reader hasn't a clue what you're saying?
     

    AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    No, no, no I don't care what the listener thinks at all. Just really really at all. I care only about grammar.
    I suggest you re-evaluate your priorities with respect to learning English. It's impossible to learn a language without learning its syntax, which is the set of rules that listeners apply when decoding an utterance.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    USA English
    The listener expects you to tell us under what conditions you would wish that, as in I would wish you were here if you were somewhere else.
    The would we are dealing with plays two roles at once.

    1. It is conditional, like "I would like", "I would prefer", "Would you help?, "Would you please stop it?". The "understood" condition, though, is not "if you were somewhere else" but something more like "if I were to be so bold" or "If I could have anything I wanted".

    2. It is a form of the verb will in the old fashioned meaning, "want" or "wish".
    Well, I really like your explanation because it's opening this mystery for me of "would". ...
    "I would do it" used to mean "I wanted/wished to do it" and "I was willing to do it". The latter meaning turns up sometimes in modern poetry. The infintive, then was like a direct object.

    In the same centuries, and in that same type of modern day poetry, "I would that" meant "I wanted that", "I would want that", "I would like that."
    "Would rather" is a catastrophe, too. I personally don't see any verb here. For me it's like:

    I would better it

    What better it?

    Would better do it

    Would better have it

    Would better sing it?

    What would better?
    I think you are confusing "would rather" with "had better".

    "Would rather" is a fossilized expression that just means "would instead". "Would sooner" is similar, and it means "would before [something else]" (e.g. "I would sooner leave than see you do that" = "I would [want to] leave before [wanting to] see you do that").

    "I would rather you were here" is just that fossilized expression at work. In contrast, "I would rather a duck than a goose" sounds old fashioned but comes down to the same usage.

    Sleep placidly. "Would" has lots of uses and is always ambiguous, but if you just remember that some of its meanings include the idea of "want" or "be willing", these sentences will not seem so catastrophic.

    Exclamations that begin with "Would" have both "I" and "[to] God" understood (will used to take both a direct object and an indirect object, so the following are equivalent:

    Would you were here!
    Would God you were here!
    I would God you were here!
    I wish to God you were here!
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    How is

    I would you were here

    being understood?

    Like

    I want you to be here?

    or like

    I wanted you to be here?
    You are confusing 2018 English with 1597 English. English grammar has changed a lot in 421 years.

    You can talk about one, or the other, but don't mix them up. "I want you to be here" probably could not be said in 1597.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    1484 Caxton tr. G. de la Tour-Landry Bk. Knight of Tower (1971) viii. 21 Ye ar moche beholden to serue god, whan he wylle youre saluacion.
    1539 R. Taverner tr. Erasmus Prouerbes sig. F.viiiv Whan that thynge can not be done that thou woldest, woll that thou cannest.
     

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Yes there is. We would never say 'I will a horse to take me to London.'



    I don't. What do you mean by the first sentence? Do you want the horse to move to somewhere else, or do you want a horse so that you can ride it somewhere?

    What do you mean by 'I wish a car to drive'?



    But you should. What's the point of speaking/writing if the listener/reader hasn't a clue what you're saying?

    1) I think I know what you mean with "I want a car to drive".

    In English the phrase

    I want a car to drive

    can mean 2 things:

    1) I want to have this car and ride it

    2) I want to see\know\be sure that the car drives.
    In different words - I want so a car would drive

    Just the problem is in my language we never say:

    I want a car to drive

    meaning

    I want so a car would drive .

    For us it will always mean

    I want to have this car and ride it .

    If we want to say

    I want so a car would drive

    we say

    I want so a car would drive

    There is no other variant

    2)
    I suggest you re-evaluate your priorities with respect to learning English. It's impossible to learn a language without learning its syntax, which is the set of rules that listeners apply when decoding an utterance.
    I wanted to say that why to say here

    I would wish you were here if you were somewhere else

    to discuss only if the

    I would wish you were here

    correct?

    Isn't it easier to write only that part the grammar of which is being discussed?

    If we have the sentence:

    He has a 10 apples in ...

    Isn't it easier to just say that it's not correct because there shouldn't be the article "a" because it's plural without mentioning that you can't say it because it's not full and we don't know where the apples are, why he has them there, who gave them to hm and so on. Who cares about these details? Everybody knows that saying it somewhere the person will continue something after "in" but here he wants to know only about the grammar of the written part.

    It's like taking some small sentence from all the story of Sherlock Holmes and saying that no, you can't say it, you don't know all the context, write here all the books to see what it's all about.

    I am also using https://ell.stackexchange.com . And recently I got some very interesting comment.

    I wrote something like:

    "Can I say:

    When she came I had already done."

    And somebody told that it was incorrect. Guess why? Because I didn't mention what I had done...

    What's the differnce what I had done- homework, tasks, a research or something else. I am asking about grammar, not about how to continue the sentence.

    It's like:

    When you came I was cooing some pies.

    It's wrong. It's not correct because we don't know what the pies were with. With blueberries, strawberries, jam or what? It's a nonsense, guys...

    2. It is a form of the verb will in the old fashioned meaning, "want" or "wish".
    Than what is the difference for:

    I wanted

    and

    I would

    in the archaic English?

    "I would that" meant "I wanted that", "I would want that", "I would like that."
    But it's the end of the world. How is it possible to equal

    I would that

    to completely different things at once:

    1) I wanted that

    2) I would want that

    3) I would like that


    The difference is like between:

    1) Cucumber

    2) Computer

    3) Cockroach


    "I would rather a duck than a goose" sounds old fashioned but comes down to the same usage.
    It's old because of the very "would rather" or because the main verb is missing here?

    Would it be normal of still archaihc if we added it:

    I would want rather a duck than a goose

    Exclamations that begin with "Would" have both "I" and "[to] God" understood (will used to take both a direct object and an indirect object, so the following are equivalent:

    Would you were here!
    Would God you were here!
    I would God you were here!
    I wish to God you were here!

    The idea of this I haven't taken.

    Would you were here ---> I would (want) you were here
    Would God you were here! ---> God would (want) you were here
    I would God you were here! ---> ???
    I wish to God you were here! ---> ???(it's like "I want to God you were here" or me)




    You are confusing 2018 English with 1597 English. English grammar has changed a lot in 421 years.

    You can talk about one, or the other, but don't mix them up. "I want you to be here" probably could not be said in 1597.

    If not, then my life is getting easier because I was going to ask what was the difference between:

    I would(in the meaning of "wanted") you were here

    and

    I wanted you to be here
    1539 R. Taverner tr. Erasmus Prouerbes sig. F.viiiv Whan that thynge can not be done that thou woldest, woll that thou cannest.
    How could it be "cannest" if everywhere it's written that for "thou" it was "canst"?

    It seems to be that time everybody could write how they liked. If one guys likes "cannest", he uses "cannest". They other one may like "canest", the third one - "canst", the fourth one - "cannst" and so on. Welcome to English...
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Just the problem is in my language we never say:

    I want a car to drive

    meaning

    I want so a car would drive .
    Firstly, what someone says in their native language has no bearing on how it's said in English. And secondly, No English speaker would ever say 'I want so a car would drive'.
    If we want to say

    I want so a car would drive

    we say

    I want so a car would drive

    There is no other variant
    But nobody would want to say 'I want so a car would drive'. I'm sure there is a correct variant, but since I don't know what this means, I'm unable to suggest one.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    In English the phrase

    I want a car to drive

    can mean 2 things:

    1) I want to have this car and ride it

    2) I want to see\know\be sure that the car drives. In different words - I want so a car would drive
    That is not correct. In modern English, "I want a car to drive" does not mean (1) and does not mean (2). It is not about "this car" at all. "A car" cannot mean "this car".

    The sentence means "I want any car, and my purpose is me driving it."

    I didn't read the rest of your post. When having a multi-person discussion, we discuss 1 idea at a time.
     

    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Dear TroubleEnglish,
    It seems that your "I want so a car would drive" looks like the calque of the Russian sentence that could be interpreted as an English equivalent " I want a car to be driven", or in a preffered form " I want a car going ". In both cases, there are major problems of meaning. There is such sentence as "I want this car going" in common usage, which is the closest in meaning.
    Also, it seems that such book as, for example, 'The Cambridge encyclopedia of the English language' by David Crystal would be a brief introduction to the interesting questions you put here.
    Sincerely
     

    AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    It seems that your "I want so a car would drive" looks like the calque of the Russian sentence that could be interpreted as an English equivalent " I want a car to be driven", or in a preffered form " I want a car going ". In both cases, there are major problems of meaning. There is such sentence as "I want this car going" in common usage, which is the closest in meaning.
    "I want a car to be driven" is, I suppose, grammatical, but I can't imagine anyone saying it. "I want a car going" is ungrammatical.
     

    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In British English the pattern 'to want + object + adjective' is possible. For example, Do you want this pie hot? In the 'I want a car going', 'going' or 'a-going' is an adjective with the meaning 'in motion or activity'. So, the sentence is grammatical, but it has big problems with its semantics. Such pattern is nothing to do with a sentence like 'I don' t want a load of traffic going past my windows all night. '
     
    Last edited:

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Firstly, what someone says in their native language has no bearing on how it's said in English. And secondly, No English speaker would ever say 'I want so a car would drive'.

    But nobody would want to say 'I want so a car would drive'. I'm sure there is a correct variant, but since I don't know what this means, I'm unable to suggest one.
    But how would you say that you want to get the result of a car in the point of driving\ you want to see that a car can drive or drives? Like:

    I want this car to drive ?

    Only this variant?

    So, a native speaker wouldn't ever say:

    I want so you would be here ?

    Alright, a different example. Let's imagine we have a circus. And the person says:

    I want a tiger to do it

    What does it mean?

    1) He wants to get a tiger to be able to do it himself

    2) He wants it to be done by a tiger? (He won't do anything himself )
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    But how would you say that you want to get the result of a car in the point of driving\ you want to see that a car can drive or drives? Like:

    I want this car to drive ?
    If I've interpreted you correctly, I think we'd say something like: I wish this car would go.
    Alright, a different example. Let's imagine we have a circus. And the person says:

    I want a tiger to do it

    What does it mean?
    Without more context, I wouldn't know what it meant.

    So, a native speaker wouldn't ever say:

    I want so you would be here ?
    No, never, I'd say.
     

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    If I've interpreted you correctly, I think we'd say something like: I wish this car would go.
    Without more context, I wouldn't know what it meant.

    No, never, I'd say.
    But I gave 2 possible ways of understanding:

    1) He wants to get a tiger to be able to do it himself

    2) He wants it to be done by a tiger? (He won't do anything himself )

    They are suitable variants of understanding (we only need context) or my guesses are wrong here, too?
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    What is the context here? What does 'it' refer to?

    1) He wants to get a tiger to be able to do it himself
    He wants to get a tiger to be able to do what by himself?

    2) He wants it to be done by a tiger? (He won't do anything himself )
    He wants what to be done by a tiger?

    Note that sentences should always end with a punctuation mark.
     
    Last edited:

    Forero

    Senior Member
    USA English
    1) I think I know what you mean with "I want a car to drive".

    In English the phrase

    I want a car to drive

    can mean 2 things:

    1) I want to have this car and ride it
    Correct sentence, but not a possible meaning of "I want a car to drive." The nearest possible meaning is something like "I want a car for driving purposes." or "I want a car that I can drive."
    2) I want to see\know\be sure that the car drives.
    Correct sentences, but not a possible meaning of "I want a car to drive." The meaning I think you have in mind is hard to express any other way in English, but it would be something like "I believe that a car should drive."

    This is a possible but unlikely meaning because of the idea of a car driving.
    In different words - I want so a car would drive
    This is probably not what you mean. "So a car would drive" cannot be the direct object of "I want".
    Than what is the difference for:

    I wanted
    In archaic English, "I wanted" usually meant "I didn't have"/"I lacked".
    and

    I would

    in the archaic English?
    It usually meant "I wanted".
    But it's the end of the world. How is it possible to equal

    I would that

    to completely different things at once:
    It is just the polysemantic nature of "would". We live with the ambiguity and pay close attention to context.
    It's old because of the very "would rather" or because the main verb is missing here?
    We still use "would rather" with essentially the old meaning. It is a fossilized expression and there is no verb missing since the main verb is "would".
    Would it be normal of still archaihc if we added it:

    I would want rather a duck than a goose
    That sounds odd.
    The idea of this I haven't taken.

    Would you were here ---> I would (wish) you were here
    Would God you were here! ---> God would (want) you were here
    No. "God" is the indirect object, not the subject.
    I would God you were here! ---> ???
    Subject: "I"; indirect object: "God".
    I wish to God you were here! ---> ???(it's like "I want to God you were here" or me)
    That does not mean anything to me.
    How could it be "cannest" if everywhere it's written that for "thou" it was "canst"?
    "Cannest" is subjunctive; "canst" is indicative.
     

    TroubleEnglish

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Correct sentence, but not a possible meaning of "I want a car to drive." The nearest possible meaning is something like "I want a car for driving purposes." or "I want a car that I can drive." Correct sentences, but not a possible meaning of "I want a car to drive." The meaning I think you have in mind is hard to express any other way in English, but it would be something like "I believe that a car should drive."
    By this you mean

    I want a car to drive

    doesn't mean

    I want to have a car to drive ?

    Can we say it through "so that"

    I want so that a car would drive

    I thought this is was the sense of:

    I want a car to drive
     
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