they <would> be released under FOIA as his guidelines for ...

  • grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    One explanation that comes to my mind is that 'would' here indicates what is likely or expected as in That would be the postman at the door. Or maybe there is some implied condition that matches the hypoethetical would; for example, they would be released under FOIA if the President were to release them.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think what he is saying is that if tapes are discovered to exist they would definitely fall under the guidelines in place for release and therefore would be released.
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Trump could record secretly Comey over dinner if he wanted | Daily Mail Online
    "According to Politico if there are tapes, they would be released under FOIA as his guidelines for access were praised as liberal by historians."
    Is the "would" as used here intended to express a hypothetical or past future situation?
    Thanks!

    View attachment 23050
    Modal verbs basically do one of two things: they express obligation ("deontic modality") or prediction/conclusion ("epistemic modality"). Sometimes, the difference between the two types of modality is clear; sometimes, it's ambiguous. Here, we can't really tell if "would" means obligation ("if there are tapes, Trump is obliged to release them") or prediction ("if there are tapes, we predict/conclude that Trump will release them"). Would here is inherently ambiguous because the release of the tapes is an open legal question, insofar as Trump is likely to seek relief in court, all the way up to the Supreme Court.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Modal verbs basically do one of two things: they express obligation ("deontic modality") or prediction/conclusion ("epistemic modality").
    The verb would is also used to form a conditional mood used in type 2 and type 3 conditionals. I think that this is a quite separate function from the ones you mention. I think this is a possible interpretation here - if FOIA procedures were initiated, (and if tapes exist), the tapes would be released.
    Is the "would" as used here intended to express a hypothetical or past future situation?
    I think you underestimate the Daily Mail's ability to disguise speculation as information. They are masters of the art of using modal verbs and conditionals in the most ambiguous ways imaginable.
     
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    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    That sentence and section is specifically about George W. Bush and not Donald Trump.

    Clinton's successor George W. Bush wrote his own rules in 2014 on how his (own) records should be treated.

    According to Politico if there are tapes (that were made during the Bush administration), they would be released under FOIA as his [Bush's] guidelines for access (call for that and, as a result,) were praised as liberal by historians.
     
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