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I'm reading a book and I've come across an use would that I cannot figure out what the author meant. In "The Lord would be found in his chambers", take note that before anything we know a character is heading towards the Lord, what is would telling me, is it that the Lord is about to be found in the a past's future? Other than that I think it might be telling me it is a past action that he, the Lord, would (always) do. If it is the letter how can express a past's future when narrating something about to happen?

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    Can you provide a larger quote for context or a link to the book if the passage is publicly available? (For an habitual action, it would read something like "he knew the Lord could always to be found in his chambers after dining.") Without more context, this seems like it's saying "he knew the Lord would be found in his chamber [when the character got there]." – Jason Bassford Nov 12 '18 at 10:13
  • @JasonBassford It's from the early pages of A Clash of King's prologue, I adapted it to what I thought would summarize the context best. The paragraph starts as follows: "Casles are not friendly places for the frail, Cressen was reminded as he descended the turnpike stairs of the Sea Dragon Tower. Lord Stannis would be found in the Chamber of the Painted Table, atop the Stone Drum, Dragonstone's Central Keep..." – Leonardo Jucá Nov 12 '18 at 11:17
  • Cressen is just heading to where Lord Stannis is and at that paragraph we learn where he "would be found", so in mind what I'm reading is that the near future for Cressen is to find Stannis in the Chamber of the Painted Table – Leonardo Jucá Nov 12 '18 at 11:23
  • An example of typical context: "[At four o'clock] the Lord would be found in his chambers". It is not past action. This usage is about probable situations. If you were looking for him,that is where he would be. – Lambie Jan 21 '19 at 21:15
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The future-tense "would" is used for hypotheticals. It's saying that he is expected to be in his chambers, but not outright stating that he definitely will be.

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  • Actually, this is true though not well expressed. – Lambie Jan 21 '19 at 21:17
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We lack the full context, but it seems to be a reported-speech version of

I will be found in my chambers.

That is, the lord makes clear to his servants where he intends to be.

This is reported as

The lord would be found in his chambers.

Alternatively it is a reference to standard practice:

The lord would be found in his chambers.

That's where he usually is to be found.

But without the full context we cannot say. We don't know who is speaking or under what circumstances.

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  • Reported speech must carry the subject and verb referring to the fact of reporting it: "I will be found in my chambers", the Lord said. //reported speech: The Lord said he would be found in his chambers. Without that, it can be some other thing...such as some truncated conditional. There is no enough context to know. – Lambie Jan 21 '19 at 22:13
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A conditional that is not fully expressed.

"Castles are not friendly places for the frail, Cressen was reminded as he descended the turnpike stairs of the Sea Dragon Tower. Lord Stannis would be found in the Chamber of the Painted Table, atop the Stone Drum, Dragonstone's Central Keep..."

Cressen is thinking about where he is. He thinks castles are not friendly places. He is also imagining where Lord Stannis might be.

This use of would be is a kind of conditional where the conditional is not fully stated or expressed. Native readers would understand this to be something like:

[If he were anywhere in the castle,] Lord Stannis would be found in the Chamber of the Painted Table.

This is very typical in novels and articles describing situations in which hypotheticals are mentioned without their being fully expressed as something you would see in a grammar book.

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