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Bob8964

Senior Member
Chinese
Dear All,

I feel some sentences would become complicated where “think” acting predicate in it. For this, I have sent 2 threads and have got valuable answers in the forum. Now I put forward another problem with below 2 sentences for your advice.

1. Bill would think Helen would visit her parents once in a while.
2. Bill would have thought Helen would visit her parents once in a while.

I think the common feature of them is that Bill once believed that Helen would visit her parents as he might have got her promise, or something else like this.

The difference would be:

For 1, somebody has just told that Bill Helen had never visited her parents, and now Bill believes that Helen has never visited here parents till now;

And for 2, somebody told Bill in the past that Helen had never visited here parents, and Bill believed that Helen had never visited her parent till then.


Thanks,

Bob
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    1. Bill would think Helen would visit her parents once in a while.
    2. Bill would have thought Helen would visit her parents once in a while.

    I think the common feature of them is that Bill once believed that Helen would visit her parents as he might have got her promise, or something else like this.

    The difference would be:

    For 1, somebody has just told that Bill Helen had never visited her parents, and now Bill believes that Helen has never visited here parents till now;

    And for 2, somebody told Bill in the past that Helen had never visited here parents, and Bill believed that Helen had never visited her parent till then.
    Your first sentence doesn't work for me because of the second "would". If you said "Bill would think that Helen visited her parents once in a while", I would say that was correct but the phrase "would visit" doesn't work.

    Your second sentence definitely does not convey that Bill once believed that. What it says is that he knows (in the present) that Helen didn't visit them (in the past) although (in the past), he would have thought she would. There's nothing there to indicate that he believed anything. He just thought she would have.

    The other thing I wonder about is your emphasis that Helen finally visited her parents (your use of "till then" and "till now"). Neither of these sentences conveys any message whatsoever about whether she is visiting them now or not.
     

    Bob8964

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    The first sentence was adopted from Macmillan dictionary, I remember the explanation would be: "would think/would have thought is used when talking about sth you expect to be true hasn't happened.”

    Your second sentence definitely does not convey that Bill once believed that. What it says is that he knows (in the present) that Helen didn't visit them (in the past) although (in the past), he would have thought she would. There's nothing there to indicate that he believed anything. He just thought she would have.


    So, can second sentence be read as: Bill once expected, 'Helen will visit her parents.’ and now he knows that Helen hasn't visited them?

    Besides, regarding “…although (in the past), he would have thought she would.”, I wonder why not use “thought” instead, i.e., although in the past, he thought she would.
     
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