you <would> probably play...

Discussion in 'English Only' started by VicNicSor, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    It used to be the case that if you wanted to hear a song you had to go out and buy that one single or album, take it home and play it. You would probably play it countless times because you had spent so much money on so few songs. Over time you would learn to appreciate all the subtle nuances throughout the album.
    Why Is Modern Pop Music So Terrible?, video by Thoughty2

    I think these two are the past tense of "will" rather than "habitual actions in the past", do you agree?
    Thanks.
     
  2. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    What sense of "will" do you mean, then? There are lots to choose from. will - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    I think #1 overlooks the fact that will can indicate a habitual action in the present just as would can indicate a habitual action in the past; though the nuances of the past and present usages might be a bit different sometimes.
     
  3. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Future-in-the-past, the reference point being the moment of buying the record; and from then on, playing it and learning to appreciate are "the future". That was my reasoning.
     
  4. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    "It used to be the case" strongly points to the idea that "would" refers to a past habit.

    I think that even the most virulent over-users of the future-in-the past would would not use it here. But I may be wrong - their noxious influence is everywhere!
     
  5. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    But he already says "play it countless times", wouldn't that be superfluous then?

    And besides, the habitual "would" is used with actions that could be repetitive, which "learn" is not:confused:
     
  6. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    "Thousands of times" refers to each record. The habit consist in going through the same ritual for many records.

    Similarly, the learning process begins anew with each record.
     
  7. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    But that's the problem: I clearly see that the red references all, grammatically, refer to one album/single
    :confused:
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  8. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    But that logic indicates you think the writer only bought one song in his life:eek:. The use of "a song" indicates that this process (of playing it many time etc.) is a general (repeated) event.
     
  9. SevenDays Senior Member

    Spanish
    If you consider/believe that "would" is the past tense/form of "will" (which is what traditional grammar says), then "would" in a past context is always the past tense/form of "will," regardless of the "sense/meaning" of "would" (habitual action, willingness, command, etc.). This is because, as "past tense," would becomes a temporal marker, independent of its contextual meaning.

    If you consider/believe that "would" and "will" are modal verbs, each with its own uses and syntax, then would is not the past of anything; it's not a "temporal marker." As a result, you simply focus on the "meaning" of the modal verb would. Just keep in mind that sometimes "meanings" overlap. The two "would's" that you mention could refer to "habit" just as it could to "intent/willingness/etc." After all, you can't have a "habit" without the "intent/willingness" to do something "habitually."

    The syntax of "will" prevents its appearance in a past context; in past contexts, syntax requires "would." This doesn't mean that would is the past of will; it simply means that would and will have different syntactic uses.
     
  10. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Then the "had" should have been "would have", do you agree?..
    It used to be the case that if you wanted to hear a song you would have to go out and buy that one single or album, take it home and play it. You would probably play it countless times because you had spent so much money on so few songs. Over time you would learn to appreciate all the subtle nuances throughout the album.


    SD, would and will are just like could/can, might/may: one is the past of teh other, and at the same time they are modal verbs, of course.
    When I say "past of "will", I mean "future in the past".
     
  11. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    No, "had to" is perfectly fine here. "Would have to" would sound much less natural. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that if we use one grammatical construct in a paragraph we are obliged to use it throughout - this is exactly the opposite of what most good writers try to do.
     
  12. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    It's just there's a inconsistency. The part "if you wanted to hear a song you had to go out and buy that one single or album" doesn't imply any repetitive actions. It's in a disagreement with the rest of the quote:(
     
  13. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Grammatically perhaps not. But then there's logic: you can'yt forget that when trying to understand language.

     
  14. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Of course not.

    To me it sounds like one typical example of what happens occasionally. "... if you wanted to hear a song" not at all implies that you wanted to hear a song only once in your life:)
     
  15. SevenDays Senior Member

    Spanish
    There's no inconsistency or disagreement; "wanted" and "buy" are semantically governed by the construction "used to be the case" found in the main clause:

    It used to be the case that if you wanted to hear a song you had to go out and buy ...


    In other words, "used to be the case" means "repetitive/habitual," as already pointed out in post #4. Once you've established "repetitive/habitual," there's no need to do that again later in the sentence (post #11).
     
  16. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    But "used to be the case" obviously refers to the whole quote in the OP, not only to the first sentence. Then, the both brown woulds are redundant?
     
  17. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    There's a big difference between what you wrote :"not at all implies that you wanted to hear a song only once in your life" and what I wrote
    "you think the writer only bought one song in his life"
     
  18. SevenDays Senior Member

    Spanish
    Redundancy is style, not grammar. Show the original paragraph to 10 people, and you'd probably get 10 rewrites, based on personal preferences and biases. You could, for example, write it this way, using the simple past in place of the two "would's" that you have in brown, given that "used to be the case" refers, as you say, to the whole quote:

    It used to be the case that if you wanted to hear a song you had to go out and buy that one single or album, take it home and play it. You probably played it countless times because you had spent so much money on so few songs. Over time you learned to appreciate all the subtle nuances throughout the album.


    Whether this version is better (or not) compared to the original (with the two brown "would's") is a stylistic judgment.
     
  19. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Likewise, my phrase "I clearly see that the red references all, grammatically, refer to one album/single." doesn't imply that I think "the writer only bought one song in his life":)

    What I wanted to say was:

    if you wanted to hear a song you had to go out and buy that one single or album
    =
    every time you wanted to hear a song you had to go out and buy that one single or album

    Logic tells us that one means the other.

    But do you agree that the version with three woulds (the first being "would have to go), or with no woulds at all, would sound better and less ambiguous in the OP?
     
  20. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    :thumbsup: :)
     
  21. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    No, absolutely not. As I already said it sounds worse. And the OP is not in the least ambiguous.

    English often offers several grammatically correct possibilities, as in this case. It is often considered better, stylistically, to exploit this, rather than sticking to one of them.
     
  22. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    To me, with the third "would" it would be exactly like this instance:
    meanings of would

    I had a similar question about the third "would", and it's even put in an when/if clause, just like in the OP.

    Do you mean if we remove the last would in this quote it would make the quote better?
     
  23. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    I'm fine with the third would, and would also be fine with the simple past. The two options are equally good in my opinion.
     
  24. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Why would the third would in the OP (would have to go) be bad then?...
     
  25. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    Thr original is a conditional sentence - if you wanted x you had to y. Adding "would" is confusing because it makes it sound as if you're misconstructing the conditional and it requires some thought to work out that it's a "habitual" would. The other example has no such complications.
     
  26. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    In the OP and in the quoted sentence, "when" and "if" have the same meaning, and are interchangeable:):

    But when they signed the really big acts it would balance the books.
    if you wanted to hear a song you had to go out and buy that one single or album
     
  27. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    I disagree that they are interchangeable- if implies that the condition may or may not have occurred, whereas when implies that it definitely did sometimes occur. The other difference is that the signing big acts sentence is the third reference and it's already clear that it's the habitual would.
     
  28. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    It's just one of the meanings of "if":
    OALD
    In the OP, the phrase "It used to be the case that" also points to repetitive actions...
     
  29. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    Please do not try to school native speakers on the definition of words.

    I meant that in your sentences they are not interchangeable.
     
  30. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Sorry, but I disagree. I do think they mean exactly the same thing and are interchangeable.

    Obviously, the speaker didn't mean that "the condition" of wanting to hear a song may not have occured. Everyone wants to listen to music.

    It's not like "If it rains, we will stay home.", where the condition of raining indeed may or may not occur.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  31. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Rather strong, and inaccurate, statement there Vic.:( Many of my parents' and grandparents' generations would be horrified by the thought of buying a "song" as the new "music" was called. And no-one wanted to hear all possible songs so the buying of a song would ( :eek: ) be (or "have been") conditional on wanting to buy that particular song.
     
  32. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    This is patently untrue - not all people wanted to listen to music and not all people bought records. It would also be entirely possible for record companies not to sign any big acts - the use of "when" is adding extra information by telling us that in fact they all did (or all the ones which didn't go bust anyway).

    It would be possible to use both if and when in both examples, but they are not "interchangeable", because the meaning changes. If "when" had been used in the OP rather than "if", a "would" would not sound strange. With "if", it does.
     
  33. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    The fact that not all people may want to hear and buy music records is just irrelevant here. He only considers the category of people who do want to listen to pop music and so had to buy it then. He is comparing those times with these days when modern technologies and devices allow us to have lots and lots of different songs on our devices just by a click:)
     
  34. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    But it seemed to part of your grammar argument in #30. :)
     
  35. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Why, in #30 I said the same thing...
     
  36. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Um yes - you (inaccurately) said "everyone wants to listen to music" to justify the lack of conditionality and then in #33 you said that that was irrelevant. I was just confused (still am:)) but I'm sure you'll teach me better:eek:
     
  37. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    The next sentence in #33 was:
    The others who may not want don't matter. That's why I think it means "whenever".

    Compare:
    "If it rains, we will stay home."
    Here you can't replace "if" with "whenever", because fulfilling the condition is the thing that really matters. It may rain, or may not. We don't know:)
    And it's about one single event.
     
  38. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Thank you teacher, I'm sure I'll get the hang of this language one day.
     
  39. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    You said I contradicted myself, and I just said that in my version/opinion I didn't:(
     
  40. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    If you're not going to listen to the interpretation of native speakers I don't understand why you use this forum. You are asserting that you are correct here in the face of native speakers who say you're not.
     
  41. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    I don't think we really need sarcasm like "thank you teacher", and shifting to personalities like "what are you doing on this forum".

    Thank you, everybody!
     

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