Should such a terrible earthquake hit the area, no on can tell how devastating the aftermath will be

kh6721

New Member
Korean
"Should such a terrible earthquake hit the area, no on can tell how devastating the aftermath will be."

Is the sentence above correct? I personally think it should be "Should such a terrible earthquake hit the area, no one would able to tell how devastating the aftermath will be." or "Should such a terrible earthquake hit the area, no one will be able to tell how devastating the aftermath will be."

I'd appreciate any explanations you may provide. Thanks.
 
  • Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    Can is correct. No one can tell (predict now) how devastating it would be should it happen (if it happens in the future).

    Should it happen [If it happens in the future] one would be able to tell because they would witness it.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Both of your suggestions are good, but the original can also stand. You can think of it as saying what no-one (now) can tell:

    No-one can tell [how devastating the aftermath will be, should such a terrible earthquake hit the area].

    We don't have to wait until an earthquake hits, and then find that we can't tell. We can say now, before any earthquake happens, that we can't tell.

    cross-posted and agreeing
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The sentence doesn't make sense to me in that order.

    "Should such a terrible earthquake hit the area, no on can tell how devastating the aftermath will be."

    Only in reverse order.

    "No one can tell how devastating the aftermath will be, should such a terrible earthquake hit the area."

    The other way has a different meaning and usage. It would be used when stating a fact.

    "Should such a terrible earthquake hit the area, the devastation will be enormous."
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Only in reverse order.

    "No one can tell how devastating the aftermath will be, should such a terrible earthquake hit the area."
    or even
    "No one can tell how devastating the aftermath of such a terrible earthquake will be, should one hit the area."
    Now the end is a clarifying afterthought and the main idea is entirely expressed in the main clause.
     
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