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Author: David | Published: 16-02-2010 | Times seen: 168334 | Category: English Grammar: Advanced


would have seen


Question 1 (12th January, 2010)

I have a question. Up to now I have learned that the structure" Would have pp" is used for conditional sentences type three. However, sometime when I am reading something, I am faced with some sentences that the abovementioned structure has been used in them , but they are not related to conditional sentences at all. For example, some days ago, I saw the following sentences:

"The third day, however, the old man would have seen his friend's body being carried to the churchyard for burial."

Would you please explain to me the use " Would have pp."
Thank you


Question 2 (16th January, 2010)

thank you for your reply. I am still a bit confused. Would you please tell me what the following sentence means?

"The third day, however, the old man would have seen his friend's body being carried to the churchyard for burial."

Please just explain the meaning of the sentence.

Thank you


Author: Mike | Published: 17-02-2010 | Times seen: 168328 | Category: English Grammar: Advanced


Re: [David] would have seen


Reply 1 (13th January 2010)

Hello, David!

Please note that the past form of will is would:

I will (or shall) see her
You will see her
He will see her
She will see her
It will see her
We will (or shall) see her
They will see her

The past form of will
I would (or should) see her
You would see her
He would see her
She would see her
It would see her
We would (or should) see her
They would see her

Future perfect
I will (or shall) have seen her
You will have seen her
He will have seen her
She will have seen her
It will have seen her
We will (or shall) have seen her
They will have seen her

The past form of will have
I would (or should) have seen her
You would have seen her
He would have seen her
She would have seen her
It would have seen her
We would (or should) have seen her
They would have seen her

The past or conditional form of "the old man will have seen his..." is "the old man would have seen his...".

I recommend your visiting the following links:

Best regards,


Reply 2 (17th January 2010)

Hello, David!

A wider context would help to explain the sentence better. It suggests to me that someone is expressing his or her opinion about something that happened in the past, that is, he or she is putting forward a hypothesis or saying the way something had occurred. "Would have seen" implies that the action was completed at that point in the past.

Compare these two sentences:
-The old man will have done/seen it by the end of the day. (that is, the action will be over by the end of the day. Please have a look at http://www.polseguera.org/advanced_english_grammar/verb_tenses_uses4.php#example67)
-The old man would have done/seen it by the end of that day. (This is the past form of the previous sentence, that is, the action would be over by the end of that day.)

Best regards,



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