What does it even mean?

They all called me "little dude" now—even the jocks. These big dudes I barely even knew before would knuckle-punch me in the hallways now.

Imaginary situation? Habits? Here we have 'in the hallways now' as if it has already happened. It refers us to a repeated action, doesn't it?

  • Despite the "now", this is a past-tense passage. "Called", "knew" and "would" are all simple past tense forms here. The "would" represents a past-tense intention, inclination or habit. Oct 5 '18 at 1:34
  • 1
    would in that sentence is the same as "used to".This is a narrative past use.
    – Lambie
    Feb 1 '19 at 14:25
  • 'Now' is a marker that the speaker is annoyed about the situation. This is a direct speech, where 'now' tells us in addition that it is a literary rendition of the speaker's original informal speech.
    – kngram
    Jun 2 '20 at 6:58

In this case, "now" is referring to the time period at which the story takes place at that point. "Would" is being used normally in this sentence.

  • Could I see it as an action that was repeated more than one time? Oct 6 '18 at 0:32
  • The passage does seem to be saying that the speaker would get knuckle-punched repeatedly.
    – KLATP
    Oct 9 '18 at 3:06
  • 'Would' in the context is a marker of habitual actions in the past.
    – kngram
    Jun 2 '20 at 7:08

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