Can anybody explain the structure that takes place here. Is it correct and why is "would" there? What kind of rule could be there?

The full phrase was:

I guess I am a little bit disappointed he would say that.

It was used as an opinion on someone's comment in a video (doubt that I can reference it due to having lost the link). The meaning is perfectly clear, though the grammar rule which allows to use "would" in this case is still a mystery to me.


1 Answer 1


"I am disappointed he would say that" is something you might expect to hear when talking to one or more people about someone else. For example, if your brother said "I hate you mom and dad!" and you are talking to your parents you might say "I am disappointed he would say that". The "would" asserts that the person is capable of saying something like that.

  • Thanks a lot! Is there some kind of a rule for that? at least a reference point? Just for the sake of knowing more instances. Nov 8, 2017 at 22:16
  • @ArtemMakarovsky Could you be a bit more specific with what you want to know? Is there a way you would have structured the sentence to make sense to you? It might be easier to help you that way.
    – bhow
    Nov 8, 2017 at 22:22
  • Sure. I guess it can also be phrased as: I am disappointed that he said that or It is disappointing that he could say something like this The thing here is... "Would" as i understand works as an instrument to show a particular shade (being capable of doing in this case). So I was wondering if there is a list of other modals that have their own shades and are gathered in a particular grammar topic. Or is it just a one off Nov 8, 2017 at 22:34
  • 1
    Perhaps a more normal sentence is "I am surprised he would do that". It can even be used to describe the same situation. It's basically the same as "I am surprised he did that". "Would" generally gives a more opinionated feel. "I did not" vs "I would not" - one is a fact and the other is not necessarily so. "could" vs "would" - in this instance would implies the action happened. Though it's a bit reaching, "could" could be used in a situation where someone says "He said he was going to run away" and you say in response "I am disappointed he could do that" referring to the running away
    – bhow
    Nov 8, 2017 at 22:37
  • Saying "I am disappointed he would do that" in this new case could only refer to the act of him saying he was going to run away.
    – bhow
    Nov 8, 2017 at 22:41

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