would not have

thetazuo

Senior Member
Chinese - China
“This is monstrous,” said Lady Nym. “I would not have believed it, not of a Kingsguard knight.”
“They are sworn to obey, just as my captain is,” the prince said. “I had my doubts as well, but you all saw how Ser Balon balked when I suggested that we go by sea. A ship would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements.” (A Dance with Dragons, novel)

Context: Sand Snakes were bastard daughters of Prince Oberyn, and Prince Doran. Tyene, Obara and Lady Nym were the three of Sand Snakes. Prince Oberyn was Doran’s brother. Prince Doran just told them that Queen Cersei asked Ser Balon, who was a Kingsuard Knight, to escort her daughter and Prince Doran’s son to the capital. If they go overland, they will be attacked by barbarians and the son would die. This is a trap set up by the Queen. But if they go by sea, the Queen’s scheme to murder the son won’t be successful.

I think the first one implies “if you had informed me of the scheme before now, I would not have believed it”; the second implies “if they had gone by sea (in the future), a ship would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements (in the future)”.
Please let me know whether my thinking needs any corrections?

Thank you.
 
  • london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    “I would not have believed it, not of a Kingsguard knight.”
    If anybody had told Lady Nym before she knew about the murder plot that a Kingsguard knight could do such a thing she would not have believed them.

    "A ship would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements.”
    If they had travelled by ship Cersei's plan to murder the son would not have worked.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you. I just mean in a third conditional, both the if-clause and the would have clause can refer to future, like the second case, right?
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you. So does it make sense to say “A ship will disturb all the queen’s arrangements.” here?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thank you. But I would say both the if clause and the would have clause refer to imaginary future which is not going to happen.:) Make sense?
    No, Thetazuo, it does not make sense.

    You say that “if they had gone by sea, a ship would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements” means “if they had gone by sea (in the future), a ship would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements (in the future)”. I'm afraid this is wrong. That form is appropriate for an imaginary past, something which did not occur.

    If you wish to talk about a future you have the obvious choices of the first or second conditionals, not the third. A ship would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements must be talking about the past, in my view. Perhaps the Prince meant A ship would disturb all the queen's arrangements: that could be talking about the future.
     
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    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you, TT. OK. I see.
    If both the if clause and the main clause refer to the past, I would suggest the second bold part means “If we had decided to travel by ship, that would have disturbed all the Queen’s arrangements”. In this sentence, the decision was made in the past and the disturbance also happened in the past (but in fact the decision wasn’t made so the disturbance never happened).
    Do I get your meaning?
     
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    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thank you, TT. OK. I see.
    If both the if clause and the main clause refer to the past, I would suggest the second bold part means “If we had decided to travel by ship, that would have disturbed the Queen’s arrangement”. In this sentence, the decision was made in the past and the disturbance also happened in the past (but in fact the decision wasn’t made so the disturbance never happened).
    Do I get your meaning?
    Yes, except that it's the going by ship rather than the decision to do so which would have disturbed her arrangements. A pedantic point, perhaps.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Yes, except that it's the going by ship rather than the decision to do so which would have disturbed her arrangements. A pedantic point, perhaps.
    Thank you again. So you also think the if clause should be “If they had travelled by ship“?
    But my thinking is that only the decision can be made in the past (when the prince was taking with Ser Balon), but the going by ship can not. I just can’t understand how could it be possible that going by ship happened in the past.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thank you again. So you also think the if clause should be “If they had travelled by ship“?
    No, of course I don't, if the potential travelling is to be in the future.
    But my thinking is that only the decision can be made in the past (when the prince was taking with Ser Balon), but the going by ship can not. I just can’t understand how could it be possible that going by ship happened in the past.
    Then you must try to grammatically separate the decision from the going by ship. My view is that it's the going by ship which would 'disturb the queen's arrangements'. When the decision was made is a matter of indifference to her.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Thank you again. So you also think the if clause should be “If they had travelled by ship“?
    But my thinking is that only the decision can be made in the past (when the prince was taking with Ser Balon), but the going by ship can not. I just can’t understand how could it be possible that going by ship happened in the past.
    Ok. I have as a matter of fact read the book so I know, as you say, that Queen Cersei planned to assassinate Trystane (Prince Doran's son). For that purpose, she sends Ser Balon Swann to Dorne. She intended having Trystane killed in the Kingswood on the way to King's Landing (overland, therefore). Doran tells his daughter and the Sand Snakes about Cersei's scheme. They are shocked and can hardly believe that Cersei is plotting to murder Trystane and that a Kingsguard knight is involved. In any case Trystane is not murdered because he travels by ship, not overland

    As I said above:
    “I would not have believed it, not of a Kingsguard knight.”
    If anybody had told Lady Nym before she knew about the murder plot that a Kingsguard knight could do such a thing she would not have believed them.

    "A ship would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements.”
    If they had travelled by ship Cersei's plan to murder the son would not have worked.
    They travelled by ship because if they had travelled overland Trystane would have been killed. 'If they had travelled by ship..' therefore makes no sense in the context.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you both.
    They travelled by ship because if they had travelled overland Trystane would have been killed. 'If they had travelled by ship..' therefore makes no sense in the context.
    If “If they had travelled by ship..” makes no sense in the context (you seem to have contradicted yourself in post 2:confused:), then what do you think is the if clause?
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    It makes no sense because they DID travel by ship.

    And yes, my apologies, I should have corrected my post 2 to this (I can't do it now):

    "A ship would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements.”
    If they had not travelled by ship Cersei's plan to murder the son would have worked.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    It makes no sense because they DID travel by ship.
    Thank you. But we can’t know from the context that they did travel by ship, not from this chapter. And your sentence sounds like they had already traveled by ship. But the traveling was still in the future relative to the time when Prince Doran uttered the sentence.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    All I can say is then that the author used the wrong tense: he should have had Prince Doran say: "A ship would disturb all the queen’s arrangements.”
    Thank you. But I don’t really think the author is wrong. Maybe my suggestion in post 12 makes more sense: “If we had decided to travel by ship, going by ship would have disturbed all the Queen’s arrangements”.
    Actually this example reminds me of another similar example:
    If they had come to visit me tomorrow instead of today, I would have taken my day off tomorrow.
    This suggests in a standard third conditional, both the if clause and the main clause can refer to the future.
    So I think it makes sense to interpret it as “If they had travelled by ship instead of overland (in the future), that would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements (in the future)”?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thank you. OK. Don’t you feel this interpretation is comparable with the underlined sentence I quote in #21?
    I was pointing the similarity between these two:
    “if they had gone by sea (in the future), a ship would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements (in the future)”(#1)
    “If they had travelled by ship instead of overland (in the future), that would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements (in the future)”? (#21)
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you. I was pointing the similarity between the two:
    1. If they had come to visit me tomorrow instead of today, I would have taken my day off tomorrow.
    2. If they had travelled by ship instead of overland (in the future), that would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements (in the future)

    But this revised interpretation makes more sense to you, right?
    If we had decided to travel by ship, then going by ship would have disturbed all the Queen’s arrangements.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thank you. I was pointing the similarity between the two:
    1. If they had come to visit me tomorrow instead of today, I would have taken my day off tomorrow.
    2. If they had travelled by ship instead of overland (in the future), that would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements (in the future)

    But this revised interpretation makes more sense to you, right?
    If we had decided to travel by ship, then going by ship would have disturbed all the Queen’s arrangements.
    I wouldn't say 1. because they can't have come to see me tomorrow, nor could I say I would have done something tomorrow, unless it was clear that it meant I would have arranged to do something tomorrow, for the same reasons.

    I could say If they had decided to come to visit me tomorrow instead of today, I would take my day day off tomorrow.

    I have throughout been advising you not to apply these past formulations to future events.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thank you, TT.
    I mean we should interpret “A ship would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements.” as “If we had decided to travel by ship (in the past), then going by ship would have disturbed all the Queen’s arrangements (in the past).”, right? Because you said in post 13 that it's the going by ship rather than the decision to do so which would have disturbed her arrangements.
    nor could I say I would have done something tomorrow, unless it was clear that it meant I would have arranged to do something tomorrow
    I have throughout been advising you not to apply these past formulations to future events.
    OK. I know we can use “would have done” to refer to the future when we refer to a plan or an arrangement, but it doesn’t have to be so. I have other examples where “would have done” refers to future events but no plan or arrangement is involved.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thank you. So we can use past perfect to refer to the future, right?

    And I think when a third conditional refers to the future, it has to be counterfactual. I don’t know if this thinking is right?
    It's not the past perfect which refers to the future.

    The third conditional's past perfect in the protasis refers to the past normally; the past conditional in the apodosis can refer to something which will not take place, as is explained very clearly in the thread you reference in #29.
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    The third conditional's past perfect in the protasis refers to the past normally; the past conditional in the apodosis can refer to something which will not take place, as is explained very clearly in the thread you reference in #29.
    Thank you very much. So the op example can’t refer to future because we don’t know if the disturbance to the Queen’s arrangements will take place, since whether they will go by ship or overland has not yet been decided. Right?

    By the way,
    1. In what condition can the third conditional's past perfect in the protasis refers to the present and future?
    2. If the “would have” can refer to something which will not take place, then why do you advise me not to use “would have” to refer to future?
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    “This is monstrous,” said Lady Nym. “I would not have believed it, not of a Kingsguard knight.”
    “They are sworn to obey, just as my captain is,” the prince said. “I had my doubts as well, but you all saw how Ser Balon balked when I suggested that we go by sea. A ship would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements.” (A Dance with Dragons, novel)
    Hi. Everyone. I have a new idea about this example sentence. I think, by saying “A ship would have disturbed all the queen’s arrangements.”, Doran was suggesting that he had already sent his son away on a ship, relative to the time when the conversation took place — the author is trying to tell us that information indirectly. So the example is an unrealized future in the past. Does it make sense?
     
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